Schooner Alabama grounds in Connecticut (again)

Vessel hung up in same spot in 2010.

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The schooner Alabama rests hard aground off Morgan Point in Noank Monday. The vessel ran aground around high tide on Sunday afternoon and the U.S. Coast Guard dispatched a small boat crew from the station in New London to remove the 17 passengers to shore. - Sean D. Elliot/The Day

The Black Dog charter schooner Alabama ran aground at the mouth of Connecticut’s Mystic River on the evening of June 19 while cruising with a group of schoolchildren.

Seventeen passengers on a school trip from New York were evacuated by a Coast Guard response boat with no injuries reported. Students placed ashore were taken to a local hotel, Cheryl Dewitt of Black Dog Tall Ships said.

“All the parents were notified that the students were OK,” she said.

The Alabama was captained by Dale Goff at the time, according to Ms. Dewitt.

Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound Command Center received notice of the incident at approximately 6:15 pm, according to a Coast Guard press release.

The vessel was on the wrong side of a charted navigational structure, Coast Guard Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier told The Times. How it got there is still under investigation, he said. Five crewmembers, including the captain, received drug and alcohol testing at the scene, he said.

The Coast Guard did not free the Alabama, Petty Officer Strohmaier said. A private tug, aided by the tide, towed the schooner off the rocks that held it.

The vessel moored at Noank Shipyard overnight, according to a shipyard representative.

The Coast Guard inspected the hull the next day, Ms. Dewitt said. “She checked out fine,” she said.

Mystic Harbormaster Donald F. Procko told The Times he was out of state for Father’s Day when the schooner grounded. He described the waters where the ship got hung up as “a little tight,” but “well charted and well marked.”

He said thousands of boats go through there every year.

“A grounding is unusual,” he said

Mr. Procko said this was a repeat performance for the Alabama. He said the schooner grounded in the same spot in 2010.

According to an account of that grounding in The Day of New London, the Alabama grounded on July 7 at 6:15 pm in the same location — adjacent to Noank Light 5. At that time, there were 33 people on board, including 27 passengers between the ages of 15 and 18.

Ms. Dewitt said the Alabama resumed its cruise. It is scheduled to drop off the students before returning to Vineyard Haven late Friday night.