July 2, 2008
Coast Guard cutter and ferry collide
The Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay and a ferry carrying 257 passengers and eight crew collided approximately three miles north of Block Island, R.I., around 12:15 p.m., today.
Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound received a call from the Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay, a 140-foot buoy tender homeported in New London, CT, reporting it and the Block Island Ferry had collided.
Neither vessel is taking on water. The Coast Guard's initial report said the ferry has a dent about five feet above the water line. The Morro Bay has minimal damage and is fully operational.
Local TV video coverage after the event showed the Block Island ferry Carol Jean berthed at Old Harbor, Block Island, with an apparently minor dent.
The Coast Guard's initial report said visibility at the time of the collision was reported to be about 200 yards. Local TV interviews with passengers described the incident as taking place in "thick fog."
Passengers described themselves as being alarmed and shaken by the collision and reported being ordered to wear life jackets
The ferry was en route to Block Island and the Morro Bay was en route to New London.
The cause of the collision is under investigation.