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Yarmouth and Shelburne County fishermen rally to help one of their own after boat sinks at wharf days before start of lobster season


YARMOUTH, N.S. – Fishermen in Yarmouth and Shelburne counties have rallied together to help one of their own after the vessel The Extreme One sunk at the Lower East Pubnico wharf late Wednesday afternoon, just days before the lobster season is set to begin.

The Extreme One sunk at the Lower East Pubnico wharf late Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 28. FACEBOOK
The Extreme One sunk at the Lower East Pubnico wharf late Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 28. FACEBOOK

Fishing boat captain Brandon Surette and his crew had just finished loading all their lobster pots and gear when the incident happened on Nov. 28.

“My batteries don’t hold much of a charge, so we were fearing if we let them go down we might be in a pickle dumping day,” explained Surette, so he started up the boat to let the batteries charge up a little bit.

“After a few minutes the high-water alarm started going off,” said Surette.

At first Surette said he thought all the water from the stern had gone forward to the bow because of the weight aboard and that triggered the alarm. Then when one of the crew told him “the exhaust wasn’t blowing out water which it is supposed to.”

Surette took a look in the engine room through the hatches in the wheelhouse.

“When I opened that up you could hear the water just gushing in. When you can see water up for’d you know there’s something wrong. Within 15 minutes she sunk. Within 15 minutes she was gone.”

Only a small section of the stern was visible above the water.

Surette said the exhaust “blew right off” leaving an eight-inch hole in the hull.

“Once that came off there was no way of stopping it. When it went, it went. It’s a shame but the main thing, and it was bound to happen, probably the best place to happen was at the wharf. If it had happened two or three miles off it would have been a disaster.”

Other fishermen immediately stepped up to help.

Fishermen removed as much of the gear as they could before the vessel sunk and resumed the recovery effort once a crane was brought in to raise the vessel that evening.

“We’re getting her raised back up and try to get him fishing,” said Kirby Malone of T&T Ocean Rescue at the scene as this was going on. “We’ve got a crane and pumps and we’re going to lift it what we can. We have a diver down putting bladders underneath. We’re going to lift her what we can and pump her out and take her to the Belliveau slip. We’ll be here until we get her done. It will be well into the night.”

Hundreds of fishermen and community members filled the wharf helping with the recovery effort, including the East Pubnico Volunteer Fire Department.

“It’s a big community effort,” said Malone.

Many fishermen turned out to help gear up new lines to replace the tangled mass of rope that was left after salvaging lobster gear from The Extreme One, which sank at the Lower East Pubnico wharf on Wednesday (Nov. 28) after an exhaust malfunction. KATHY JOHNSON
Many fishermen turned out to help gear up new lines to replace the tangled mass of rope that was left after salvaging lobster gear from The Extreme One, which sank at the Lower East Pubnico wharf on Wednesday (Nov. 28) after an exhaust malfunction. KATHY JOHNSON

By the next morning, The Extreme One was high and dry on the slip at R. Belliveau Shipyard in Lower East Pubnico, and scores of fishermen had gathered in West Pubnico to begin gearing up new lines for Surette’s lobster traps at ‘the old liquor store’ to replace the lines salvaged from the boat, which were a tangled mess.

Once that chore was done, the work party was moving back to East Side wharf to finish rigging up the gear. All the traps were saved.

The lobster fishery in southwestern begins on Saturday, Dec. 1. Dumping day was delayed all week due to the weather.

After his boat sank at the wharf, Surette was able to find another boat to use to start the lobster season within about an hour to an hour-and-a-half with the help of Robert Amirault of Pubnico.

”He found me a boat out of Wedgeport to run,” said Surette, who received numerous offers of help and messages of concern in the aftermath.

“It really gives you a good feeling and makes a person thankful to live in such a giving community that helps one another,” he said. “I just thank the lord above no one got hurt.”

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