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FISHING BOAT SINKS AT PORT

The Mayfair, a 40-foot commercial fishing vessel, sank at the Port of Brookings Harbor early Wednesday morning.

Travis Pathway, the new owner of the boat, was on the boat with his girlfriend, Chantell Powell on Wednesday. Pathway was sleeping and Powell woke up saying get up, your boat is sinking, Pathway said.

Pathway and Powell both left the boat and approached fisherman John Fraser asking him to call the Coast Guard station.

Fraser said he called at 6 a.m. and got the Humboldt Bay station. He said he went to the station and got someone in the office.

Dan Thompson, harbormaster, said the Coast Guard contacted the port at 6:25 a.m.

The vessel was raised on Wednesday afternoon with the help of several commercial fishermen and the port barge.

Commercial fisherman Joe Spear provided the water pump and fisherman Brad Pettinger assisted with pumping out the water.

The port provided the barge and crane. Straps were attached and the vessel was lifted out of the water. Russ Crabtree, executive director of the port, said that no divers were needed.

The reason the port got involved was because we didnt want it to become an environmental problem, Crabtree said.

There was no fuel in the tanks of the vessel, but hydraulic fluid and oil are concerns, Crabtree said.

He said the Coast Guard is contacted to federalize the situation, which gives the port authority to handle it and decreases the ports liability.

Crabtree said it took less than 15 minutes to raise the vessel out of the water.

The cause of the sinking is unknown at this time, but Crabtree said he thinks the boat split a seam.

He said a definite cause would be determined when the boat is put in dry dock.

The owner of the vessel will be charged for the use of the port equipment, Crabtree said. The port commissioners decide the amount to charge.

My recommendation will be as minimal as possible, Crabtree said.

He said a large amount would be like adding insult to injury.

The owner of the vessel will have to pay the charge, but ownership is in dispute.

Pathway bought the vessel on Monday for a down payment of $400 with a loan for the rest of the amount, which was not disclosed.

He purchased the vessel from Jim Whitsit, a commercial fisherman.

Whitsit is still the registered owner with the port, however he believes that Pathway should take responsibility for the vessel.

He paid me for the boat. I have a bill of sale. He took possession so I had no control. He commenced living on it, Whitsit said.

He added that the minute Pathway took possession of the boat, he took responsibility for it.

Whitsit said he bought the boat for the salmon permit. He said he had planned to scrap the boat and sell the permit to someone else.

He said that Pathway insisted on buying the boat.

When he agreed to the purchase agreement, it released me, Whitsit said.

Pathway said he had planned to live on the boat for a year, save up money and then begin commercially fishing with the boat. He is a commercial fisherman on the Chantell.

After the vessel was raised, Crabtree said it would be dry docked and the owner would need to decide what to do with it.

The port considers the owner to be the person who is registered with the port, Crabtree said.

Pathway said he thinks he can get out of the purchase of the boat.

I think Im going to stick on the big boat I work on. Its made of metal, he said.

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