Oliver Hazard Perry harbor mishap

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While some may think sailing in the ocean is challenging, the truth is that for a large sailing vessel like Rhode Island's tall ship Oliver Hazard Perry, the tricky bits can often occur while in harbor. One of those recently befell Perry when the 200-foot full-rigged ship was departing a seafood festival in Newport's inner harbor on Sunday evening, Oct. 15. The ship was attempting to make its way back to its permanent dock at Ft. Adams. A poorly tended dock line became entangled in Perry's twin props and its engines stalled. With no power and a steady wind acting on the ship's high freeboard, Perry was forced downwind and impacted several docked vessels. A small flotilla of powerboats and workboats quickly assembled and helped stabilize the vessel. No one was injured. On Monday, Oct. 16, two tugboats moved Perry across the harbor to Ft. Adams.

It's useful to note that Perry has done thousands of ocean miles safely, including a celestial navigation training trip I made this spring from Ft. Lauderdale to Bermuda. It was a great trip and although we experienced some gale-force wind and rain, the weather never interrupted our classroom instruction. So it just goes to show that ships can be safer at sea than when they are maneuvering in port. 

Here are the press releases from OHPRI on the incident:

10/16/2017   7:30 p.m.

Statement from Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island:

Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry is now safely docked at her berth at Fort Adams. Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island would like to thank the Newport Harbor Master, Old Port Marine Services, the Newport Fire Department, and the U.S. Coast Guard for their swift assistance last night as well as Mitchell Towing, Tug Jaguar and Tug Hawk for this afternoon’s relocation, which went according to plan.

We appreciate the aid and expertise of many more and the support we have received from all of our supporters.

Prior statements are included below.

10/16/2017   12:30 p.m.

Statement from Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island:

 This afternoon, Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry will return to its permanent berth at Fort Adams, its intended destination last night. A diver has cleared the propellers, and both engines are operational.

In accordance with U.S. Coast Guard requirements, Tug Jaguar from Mitchell Towing in Fairhaven, Mass. will assist with the move while two other tug boats will be on standby for assistance.

The relocation process will begin when the tug boats arrive at approximately 3 p.m.

The four affected vessels are currently being assessed, and owners/captains have been contacted.

With its next programs scheduled for January, Perry will undergo U.S. Coast Guard-required sea trials later this week to ensure the ongoing safety of the ship and crew. All of Perry’s 2018 voyages and plans for festival participation are expected to continue as scheduled. 

Updates will be issued as more information is made available.

Prior statements are included below.

10/16/2017  9:40 a.m.

Statement from Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island:

 At approximately 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, October 15, while the Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry was leaving the Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival, its two propellers became entangled by a dock line, resulting in the loss of engine power. Thanks to the quick actions of the captain, crew, the Newport Harbor Master, Oldport Marine, and the U.S. Coast Guard, the ship was safely secured to the docks at Newport Harbor Hotel and Newport Yacht Club in the northeast corner of Newport harbor. 

During the incident, the ship did not run aground; however, it came in contact with four boats docked in Newport Harbor. There were no injuries, and minimal damage occurred. 

In conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard, OHPRI staff and crew are continuing to assess the situation for moving the ship safely as soon as possible.

Updates will be issued as more information is made available.

10/15/2017  8:00 p.m.

Statement from Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island:

Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry lost power this evening after departing from a successful weekend at the Bowen's Wharf Seafood Festival. She is currently secured alongside Newport Harbor Hotel Marina. All aboard are safe, the ship has now regained power, and the crew is working with city officials on next steps. We will share additional information as we learn more.

By Ocean Navigator