Darkness played factor in Placentia vessel accident

Nicholas Mercer
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It is still not known the cost of the damage done to Placentia-based fishing vessel Suzanne Mary after an early morning collision May 3.

Placentia-based fishing vessel Suzanne Mary was involved in an early morning accident on May 3.

It is still not known the cost of the damage done to Placentia-based fishing vessel Suzanne Mary after an early morning collision May 3.

The 36-foot boat was on its “third trip under the bridge” headed for a load of crab when it collided with the north pier of the lift bridge in Placentia at approximately 3:30 a.m.

A spokesman with the Department of Transportation and Works said the bridge was not damaged.

Owner/operator Leo Gambin, of Ferndale, sustained a broken hip in the accident and was immediately taken to hospital in St. John’s.

The Compass was able to reach Leo’s son Rick, a deckhand on the Suzanne Mary, and spoke to him about the collision.

He said the boat had just left the wharf at Jerseyside and lined up to go under the bridge.

The vessel usually has three of four crew members aboard every time out.

“There were no lights on underneath the bridge where we go out,” said Rick. “It was pitch black.”

The tide could have played a factor in the collision, as it was rolling out that morning.

“There’s a lot of tide there with that bridge,” he said. “Maybe if the tide was rolling in, it wouldn’t have happened.”

The flow of the sea guided the Suzanne Mary, this coupled with the construction of the new bridge left little room to turn around.

“There’s no room for error,” said Rick.

The vessel sustained serious damage. The side of the boat where the collision took place collapsed, along with damage done to the vessel’s mast.

“The mast and cables started coming down across the deck of her,” said Rick.

The damage done to the Suzanne Mary puts a stop to fishing for crab for at least a couple of weeks for her crew.

It was to be the vessel’s third trip out and only its second to check its pots. The first trip is usually reserved for setting those pots.

“We don’t know how long we’re going to held up,” said Rick.

 

nmercer@cbncompass.ca

Organizations: Department of Transportation and Works, The Compass

Geographic location: Placentia, Ferndale

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