TRURO – A 78-foot fishing boat from New Bedford that ran aground early Tuesday off Longnook Beach was released on Saturday morning, ending a five-day ordeal for owner Blue Harvest Fisheries in New Bedford.
As the tug pulled the Carrabassett into the water, and the vessel appeared to react by floating behind the tug, cheers from beach sympathizers rose. As the ship stranded on the ocean beach for the past few days, visitors walked down a narrow, steep sand path from the beach parking lot to take a closer look.
“You don’t see it every day,” Provincetown resident and commercial fisherman Joel Carreiro said Saturday morning of the chance to see the boat land. He was standing at the top of the beach path.
More than 50 cars were parked in the parking lot on a sunny 39-degree morning, and spectators were up the beach path alongside Carreiro and on the beach near the boat as well.
The vessel was pulled out about an hour before high tide at 9.44am.
“Someone was not paying attention, and accidents happen,” Carreiro said. “That’s why you always have a man behind the wheel, because he’s there for a reason.”
Carreiro said he worked for 35 years as a captain, managed the sister ship of the Carrabassett and worked for the company that owns it.
“It probably costs over $ 50,000, if not more, to take it off the beach, permits and everything,” Carreiro said. “I guess just ($ 50,000) and the time wasted fishing. It all depends on how they were doing before. Some days are good, some days are bad, you know?”
As the Carrabassett was launched by the tug, two excavators stood on the beach and then began to move south after the vessel was completely afloat. The five crew members were not injured during the grounding, according to the US Coast Guard.
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After an unsuccessful attempt on Thursday morning to tow the vessel out to sea, Blue Harvest Fisheries obtained permission from government authorities and landowners to bring equipment to the beach to help, according to a company spokesperson. That effort led to the successful float of the ship on Saturday, the spokesperson said in an email.
The company launched the Carrabassett in 2020, according to a press release from the company. The ship, previously named Cowboy, was part of a fleet owned by Carlos Rafael. Once nicknamed “the father of the cod” for his outsized presence and influence in the northeastern commercial fishing industry, Rafael was jailed after pleading guilty to falsely labeling fish, smuggling money , tax evasion and falsification of federal records in a scheme to catch and sell fish for which he did not have the necessary quota.
Under an agreement in a civil case brought by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Rafael has agreed to quit commercial fishing and sell all of his vessels by December 2020.