Crews working to lift sunken boat.

February 3, 2016

sunk_boat_little_river_pere_marquette_lake_ludington_coast_guardBy Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Crews have been on scene and in the process of raising a sunken fishing boat out of Pere Marquette Lake this afternoon. Sometime over the weekend, the commercial fishing boat Sandy sunk into the channel near Washington Avenue bridge.

The trap net boat is licensed by the Little River Bank of Ottawa Indians. According to Tim Cooley of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the boat is owned by Tom Beattice, who is currently serving a prison sentence. However, witnesses have said that it was last fished by Levi Stone and Darren Mitchell.

On scene, besides Cooley from NOAA, were crews from U.S. Coast Guard Station Grand Haven’s environmental services, along with tribal police. As of 3:30 p.m., a front-end loader from Hallack Construction of Hart was being used to lift the boat so pumps could be placed on it, allowing it to be re-floated.

According to Christopher El-Cassabgui, a USCG marine science technician second class, the coast guard was on scene to check for any environmental damage. El-Cassabqui said  in situations like this, when a Native American tribe is involved, the federal government may be able to issue penalties based on environmental contamination. However, the owner is responsible for all costs, including salvage and clean up.

“It’s not currently leaking,” El-Cassabgui said..

The Sandy sank in January 2013 also.

Then another tribally licensed fishing boat sank that year in April, the Shamrock, a trap-net boat.

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