A rescue operation is currently underway to raise the Sunset Queen, a Sheepshead Bay party boat that unexpectedly turned into a submarine over the weekend. Residents bracing the cold Monday were trying to figure out just how one could party on the 89-foot paddleboat, since most of its deck was under water as it sat at its berth near the corner of Emmons and Ocean avenue. The story is another tale of the sea that gets saltier every time its passed on to someone else. But, according to police and published reports, the Sunset Queen, which hasnt left port since October after its inspection certificate expired, suffered a rupture sometime around 9:30 a.m. on January 27. The rupture, possibly caused by a bursting pipe, caused the boat to take on water. As the vessel began listing to its side, a watchman charged with protecting the boats moored along Emmons Avenue from burglars reported the incident to authorities. Coast Guard officials said that work was immediately started to rope off the boat and took steps to prevent the fuel from leaking into the oncoming tide. By Sunday afternoon, the boats hull was fully submerged. Anthony Zito, owner of the Sunset Queen, told the New York Times that some diesel fuel spilled into the bay, but most of the gas in the 1,200 tanks was collected without incident. According to the Times, the watchman who reported the ship sinking noticed the boat listing after hearing a loud bang. A short time later, workers found a broken window near the pantry. Sources from the 61st Precinct, however, do not believe that the sinking of the ship was caused by foul play. Break-ins on the boats docked along Emmons Avenue have been light over the last year, officials said. The Sunset Queen was the only paddleboat moored in Sheepshead Bay.
©2007 Community News Group
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