Tall Ship ‘Oliver Hazard Perry’ Loses Power, Hits Boats in Newport Harbor, RI

The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, an educational tall ship homeported in Newport, Rhode Island, is grounded Sunday, October 11, 2017 in Newport Harbor after the tall ship lost power and hit multiple other boats near Perrotti Park. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The U.S. Coast Guard has reported that the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, Rhode Island’s official sail training ship, lost power and hit multiple boats before grounding in Newport Harbor, R.I. on Sunday night.

The Coast Guard said the tall ship was leaving Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival with 12 crewmembers aboard when it lost power and began to drift near Perrotti Park. A 911 dispatcher alerted Coast Guard watchstanders to the incident at about 6:15 p.m.

A statement from the vessel’s owner posted to Facebook on Monday said the vessel lost power after its propellers became entangled in a line. The statement added that the ship did not run aground in the incident. 

“At approximately 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, October 15, while leaving the Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival, the Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry’s 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,” the statement said.

There are no reported injuries or pollution.

Built by Senesco Marine in Rhode Island in 2015, the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is the first ocean-going full-rigged tall ship built in the United States in over 100 years. The tall ship is a certified Sailing School Vessel and received its USCG Certificate of Inspection in June 2016. It is privately owned by Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides at-sea education programs.

A statement late Sunday night from OHPRI said the tall ship has been 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,” the statement. 

Two response boat crews from Station Castle Hill and personnel from the Narragansett Bay Task Force helped with the response, while the Coast Guard Station Castle Hill provided a safety zone around the tall ship. 

The Coast Guard said the incident is under investigation.