Hazard to navigation removed from Vineyard Haven Harbor

A steel post left behind by Robert B. Our Co. was pulled from Vineyard Haven Harbor Thursday. - Rich Saltzberg

An underwater spud left behind in Vineyard Haven Harbor by marine contractor Robert B. Our was removed Thursday morning by an Offshore Engineering crane barge.

The spud alarmed local mariners, who said it posed a hazard dangerous enough to sink a boat. The town of Tisbury posted a hazard to navigation warning on its website after harbormaster John Crocker learned of the spud last Friday.

A type of steel piling, the spud was one of several used to secure a Robert B. Our barge behind the Vineyard Haven breakwater during the fierce nor’easter of March 2. Previously the barge had been at work in the harbor for the Steamship Authority. The spud broke off when the Robert B. Our barge crew tried to pull it up after the storm. The company’s project manager, Mark Timmerman, said it was thought to have broken off much deeper than it actually did. Offshore Engineering owner John Packer said it was about two feet below the surface. While it took Packer and his crew all morning to rig for the pull and wrap up afterward, he said actually removing the spud didn’t take much time. He blamed the break on an “inferior welding job.”

As of Thursday afternoon, the spud sat ashore at the the R.M. Packer Marine Terminal. John Packer said he suspected Robert B. Our will eventually repair and reuse the spud.