Coast Guard: Oil Tanker Hit Sailboats AND Ran Aground – Here’s Incident Video

MT Chem Venus (former Golden Venus). Credit: MarineTraffic.com/
MT Chem Venus (former Golden Venus). Credit: MarineTraffic.com/Les Blair

The U.S. Coast Guard is trying to determine how exactly a 477-foot oil tanker lost control and collided with three sailboats before running aground Wednesday at the Maine-New Hampshire border. 

A new video of the accident shows the MT Chem Venus hit at least two moored sailboats before a large crash can be heard, presumably from the ship hitting bottom or some other object.

The incident occurred at about 4 p.m. Wednesday on Piscataqua River near the Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine border. The Coast Guard said the ship struck three moored sailboats and ran aground near Goat Island Ledge. The sailboats were unmanned at the time and no injuries were reported.

Salvage divers arrived Thursday afternoon to assess the extent of the damage to the Chem Venus and found a tear measuring 3 feet by 10 feet in the bow of the tanker, according to the Coast Guard. 

The owner of the Chem Venus is expected to develop a salvage plan which will be reviewed and approved by the Coast Guard.

The Chem Venus is currently safely anchored outside the Piscataqua River.

The cause of the grounding and allision is under investigation.

“We are fortunate that no one was injured and the event did not cause any pollution,” said Capt. Michael Baroody, Captain of the Port, Sector Northern New England. “We are working with our port partners to determine all of the factors that contributed to the grounding, and subsequent allision with the sailing vessels.”