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Sunken 106-year-old boat breaks apart during salvage

Workers from Miller Marine Services, in Port Jefferson,

Workers from Miller Marine Services, in Port Jefferson, work on a barge that spilled fuel oil into Oyster Bay. (Nov. 3, 2013) Credit: Steven Sunshine

A 106-year-old wood-hulled boat that sank Saturday into Oyster Bay and leaked diesel fuel broke apart Sunday as it was being salvaged, authorities said.

The 66-foot Waldron B, which had been moored at owner Frank M. Flower & Sons Inc. in Oyster Bay, sank Saturday afternoon, leaking up to 150 gallons of diesel fuel into the harbor. Local and federal officials said the spill was contained, but as the vessel was being salvaged Sunday, it broke apart.

Petty Officer Anthony Pagano from Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound confirmed reports the Waldron B had broken into pieces. "It appears the port stern broke apart while attempting to raise it," Pagano said, adding there were no reports of injuries or casualties.

"They've begun raising it piece by piece and will be working through the night," he said. Pagano said the boat should be out of the water by midday Monday.

Pagano said he had no information on why the boat broke into pieces -- whether it was because of the vessel's age or the amount of time that it was submerged.

Town of Oyster Bay officials received a report of the sinking about 4:30 p.m. Saturday and notified the Coast Guard and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Global Commander, a nearby distributor of gasoline and other products, deployed protective booms to isolate the fuel spill in the harbor, Oyster Bay spokeswoman Marta Kane said.

Miller Marine Services of Port Jefferson also assisted, Coast Guard Public Affairs Specialist Alissa Flockerzi said in an email.

The Waldron B "was reported to have approximately 100-150 gallons of diesel fuel onboard, most of which has dissipated or was cleaned up," she said.

A marine-safety unit in Coram is monitoring the situation.

Representatives from Flower could not be reached.

Coast Guard records show the Waldron B was built in 1907.

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