What Sank Carol Wales and Big Boy?



Coincidentally, both the Carol Wales and the Big Boy sank at their berths yesterday, prompting the Coast Guard to investigate. [Maybe someone with experience in naval architecture can explain why the severe weather may have played a part in their demise. At this point, though, I’m pretty conspiratorial.] Initially it was reported that the tugs were owned by Hays Tug and Launch Company of Chester. Now a Coast Guard spokesperson has revealed, “We do not know who owns them.”

According to the Rail Marine Information Group, the Carol Wales was originally the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad tug Walter L. Price, built sometime during 1949-1960. As if the Inquirer’s recanting of its earlier statement regarding ownership wasn’t confusing enough, now the Inquirer claims not to know the name of the second tug although the Inquirer’s Sam Wood and Dwight Ott reported on Tuesday:

Officials said the other vessel was the “Big Boy,”

Chances are good that the boat is owned by the D. & L. Tugboat Company according to records on boatinfoworld.com. No additional information exists about this company but I recommend the Inquirer shell out a couple bucks to get the full record of who owns the 70-year-old tug.

All of this is done in the spirit of some news agency stepping forward to get some definitive answers about who owns these vessels and, more importantly, who will pay the cost of remediating the fuel oil spill. This is nothing more than a cute story if someone can’t put the time in to report on it properly. This isn’t as sexy as LEED certified high-rises and waterfront parks but finding a culprit–and insuring that fully fuelled and unregistered ships don’t sink at their berths–is a key part of this amorphous “greening” of the city we talk about. Good luck to the investigators.

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