|Transit Sail New Bedford to Boston
Planned Departure 0500
In the early morning hours
around 3:30 am as our Cook, Doralee Zeneberg, was
getting up to make breakfast ready for the crew,
she spied the F/V Pisces aflame just behind
Schooner Ernestina in the slip on the North Face
of State Pier. She alerted the Chief Mate Scot
Cann, and the Ernestina crew rose to our
shipboard fire alarm and put their training and
emergency preparedness to the test. The ship's
3-phase generator was fired up and both after
hoses were run out to the stern.The 5 HP pumps
were engaged, and Ernestina's stern and main boom
were cooled down with both hoses. A simultaneous
call to 911 brought help quickly, as four Engines
from the NBFD responded, as well as Police, USCG
and City Officials. The Schooner was warped
ahead, further in the slip at Tonnessen Park, in
order to get clear of the Heat and Smoke.
Once the fire had started, it
was not possible to move Enestina out of the
slip; this would expose the vessel and crew to
immediate dangers of heat and smoke, as the South
wind fanned the flames, and carried them across
the slip. Backing the vessel out at that time was
not a safe option.
The Photos were taken from the
Stern, and Main Rigging of Ernestina.
An oil boom was rigged by the
Fire Department ( with the help of our crew)
around the North side of the burning vessel. At
0515, the F/V Pisces broke her lines and sank
alongside the Pier, leaving only her Pilothouse
and Rigging exposed. The fire appeared to be
While we were waiting for
clearance from the USCG and the NBFD Fire
Inspector to depart for Boston, an effort was
being made to focus on the cleanup and Salvage of
Suddenly heat from the
Pilothouse of the now partially submerged Pisces
burst into flame again in a reflash of the fire
around 6:05 am. This time it rose 30' in the air
and traveled over the water's surface on the film
of oil. Schooner Ernestina was threatened with
flames at her transom.
The Schooner Ernestina crew
used her fire hoses to fend off the flames as the
main engine was started, to move the ship all the
way into the slip against the Bulkhead, and push
the stern as far as possible to the north. The
prop wash pushed the flaming oil away in time and
finally the fire company shot foam onto the
flames to extinguish them once and for all.
This was the closest call
Schooner Ernestina had seen for years! The link
to the Standard Times Newpaper article is http://www.s-t.com/daily/08-01/08-25-01/a01lo005.htm
Finally, in the clearing dawn,
we were able to get underway.
Thanks to rapid response by the
Ships crew, and The New Bedford Fire Department,
and plenty of good fortune, a major disaster was
Nothing left to do now
but..........Keep Ernestina Sailing!!
We made it through the
Hurricane Barrier at 0700, and continued motoring
towards the Canal while the crew gave the ship a
thorough washdown after breakfast. The soot,
water and oily residue from the fire had to be
scrubbed with lots of Joy and Simple Green.
While transiting the Canal, we
set the Fore, and then cleared the East
Breakwater into a Northeast Breeze.
We continued motorsailing under
the fine sunny skies, and gentle rolling sea. .
At Minots Light Boston skyline came into view,
Boston Harbor was calm and beautiful, lots of
small sailing vessels drifting in and out of
President Roads. We struck the foresail off
Governers Island, and arrived at Fan Pier around
1815. The courthouse dock where we normally tie
up was occupied by a barge with an art exhibit on
it. The Institute of Contemporary Art has taken
We were able to turn the
Schooner around, and tie up starboard side to.
All secure. All hands stood down after a long
day. The chart to the right shows our track
through the day.
This has been a long day for
sure....but an exciting moment in the life of the
Captain: Willi Bank
Program Coordinator: Crista Mellican