Shifting ice tore gash in seiner’s hull

Diane Crocker
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Shawn Hickey’s seiner the Polly B. was back afloat in the harbour at Allen’s Fishery in Benoit’s Cove on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012.

BENOIT’S COVE  “There’s nobody knows how a guy feels about his boat, only the guys themselves,” said Shawn Hickey Saturday as he talked about his time on the water on the Polly B.

Hickey’s seiner sank while docked at Allen’s Fishery in Benoit’s Cove Thursday morning.

“I’m devastated b’y, heartbroken,” said the fisherman of 30 years.

“To some people it’s only just a boat, but to me it was home when I was aboard of it. It was where I made my livelihood,” said Hickey, who’s had the Polly B. for three years.

He said he’s the type of person who really takes pride in his work and in keeping his boat well maintained.

On Thursday Hickey had no idea what had happened to his boat which had been tied up at Allen’s for the past two and a half months. But after getting it afloat again, he found an almost seven-foot gash in the hull near the engine room that he said was caused by ice.

“The ice shifted out the bay, and I guess just give her a snock on the way out.”

It’s kind of an unusual twist of fate that ice would be responsible for the damage. Hickey has been building an outdoor rink on his Benoit’s Cove property for the last two years and even has his own ice resurfacing machine.

As he rode about the rink on Wednesday, posing for a picture that ran in Saturday’s Western Star, the ice in the bay was most likely causing damage to his boat.

He described the damage onboard as pretty much being what you would see with a house that suffers water damage. He said most everything onboard will have to be replaced, but other than the gash in the hull the boat itself is in good condition.

“She’s still a great boat,” said Hickey of the seiner he uses to fish herring, caplin and mackerel.

Right now he has no idea of the cost of the damage or what the accident will mean for him and his five-man crew.

“I’m not going to be ready for the start of the fishing season with her, not this year, not now,” he said.

“My whole life is totally disrupted now. I was just getting in a pretty comfortable spot in life and starting to plan my retirement and this is going to be a major setback.”

The boat was insured and Hickey just has to wait to see if the insurance company decides to write-it-off or repair it.

Hickey said the replacement value on the boat would probably be at about $1.5 million.

As he waits for word from the insurance company, Hickey and seven other men were helping the cleanup effort on Saturday.

Geographic location: Western Star

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Recent comments

  • Joe
    February 13, 2012 - 16:58

    Our sincere regrets to Shawn. It is said that "certain things happen for a reason" and this, or something worse, could have easily happened at sea. As far as the ice causing damage, think of the Titanic and how bold the Germans were in thinking that "not even GOD could sink it!" The fact that he was maintaining his rink may have been his blessing in disguise!