On Tuesday, crews began the process of pulling the capsized Harbor Seagull out of the water.
The older of two work boats owned by Port of Milwaukee sank Monday morning.
Port Director Adam Tindall-Schlicht says the “Harbor Seagull” began taking on water over the weekend, and sank next to a harbor-owned dock around 5:30 a.m. on February 22, 2021.
“I’m very glad that no one was hurt,” says Tindall-Schlicht, “and at this stage the cause of the sinking is as yet unknown.”
The 50-foot long vessel, which includes a 12-foot beam, a 250 horsepower diesel engine and a 22-foot hydraulic boom, normally has a two-person crew on board to assist with work around Port of Milwaukee. Built over 60 years ago, the “Harbor Seagull” was designed to continue work through the winter months.
Tindall-Schlicht adds operations at the port will continue with no interruptions, despite having the “Harbor Seagull” be the main boat to break ice around the port. “At this time there are other options available to manage the ice breaking assignment in Port Milwaukee this winter, including our flagship tugboat the “Joey D.”
Work will begin Tuesday to recover the “Harbor Seagull”. “The port will leverage a crane to lift the (boat),” says Tindall-Schlicht. “We will de-water it. We will load the “Harbor Seagull” onto a barge and then transport it to a port-owned dock for anticipated repairs.”
The port has gotten authority from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Wisconsin DNR to proceed with the recovery. Oil absorbent booms and pads are in place to follow federal regulations to limit and prevent pollution of the water.
“We will diagnose and prevent any future damage to the vessel,” says Tindall-Schlicht, “and we will seek to prevent any environmental damage to Milwaukee Harbor and to the Milwaukee estuary.”