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Tugboat sinks off Locust Point pier

A 100-foot tugboat sank off Pier 3 in Locust Point on Saturday night.

The tugboat Kaleen McAllister sank before 10 p.m., Mike Reagoso, the vice president of Mid-Atlantic operations for McAllister Towing, said Sunday. No one was injured in the incident, Reagoso said. Everyone had left the boat by the time it sank, said Petty Officer David Marin, a Coast Guard spokesman operating out of Baltimore's Curtis Bay yards.

"It is too early to determine what the extent of the damage may be, but the submersion of the tug is not expected to interfere with any harbor operations or any port operations," Reagoso said in a statement.

He said the tugboat struck a submerged object, leaving it damaged and taking on water.

The Coast Guard "got a report that they were taking on water" sometime before midnight, Marin said, referring to the tugboat. Nearby tugs, including the Robert E. McAllister and Dann Marine Towing's Treasure Coast and Sun Coast, tried to assist the vessel but were unsuccessful, Reagoso said.

Efforts to pump water out of the tug faster than it was coming in failed, Marin said, and it sank at the pier, which is used by McAllister. The vessel began to sink about 7:30 p.m. and was submerged before 10 p.m., Reagoso said.

According to marine records, the tug is 102 feet long and was built in 1970. It had 22,900 gallons of fuel and 710 gallons of oil on board.

There was a report of a "small leak" of diesel fuel and lube oil after the tug sank, Marin said. The site has been "boomed off" to prevent any further spread of the leak, he said. McAllister notified an environmental cleanup firm it has on contract, Miller Environmental Group, Reagoso said.

McAllister plans to raise the tug, perhaps by using inflated air bags, and send it to a shipyard for repairs, Reagoso said. He is unsure how much it will cost to raise the tug.

"We kind of have to" get the tugboat out of the slip, Reagoso said. "You can't just leave a vessel there like that."

McAllister — headquartered in New York — has three tugs home-ported in Baltimore.

The Coast Guard is investigating Saturday's incident.

Baltimore Sun reporter Candy Thomson contributed to this article.

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

cwells@baltsun.com

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