Tugboat Sinks Off Maine After Colliding with Tug Towing It

The 80-foot tugboat Capt Mackintire is in tow off Portland, Maine, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. The tugboat later sank about three miles south of Kennebunk, Maine, in about 158 feet of water. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

An 80-tugboat sank off the coast of Portland, Maine on Wednesday after colliding with a second tug that was towing it at the time, the U.S. Coast Guard reports. 

The exact cause of the collision is under investigation, but according to the Coast Guard, the tugboat Capt Mackintire was under tow by the 40-foot tugboat Helen Louise when the two vessels collided about three miles south of Kennebunk, Maine on Thursday morning. 

The Capt Mackintire had no crew aboard. 

The two crewmembers from the Helen Louise were unharmed and they were escorted back to Portsmouth, New Hampshire where the tug later moored. 

The USCGC Reef Shark established a tow line with the Capt Mackintire with the intention of towing it Portland, Maine. However, during the tow the Capt Mackintire began taking on water and it eventually sank in about 158 feet of water, forcing the crew to the cut the towline. 

The Coast Guard says it is working with federal, state, and local authorities to evaluate pollution potential and respond to reports of sheening in the area where the tug sank.

It was not immediately clear on Friday how much oil or other contaminents were aboard the Capt Mackintire when it sank. 

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The 149-ton Capt Mackintire was originally built in 1944 and it has reportedly been out of operation since 2015.