NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – Two boats owned by an imprisoned fishing magnate known as the Codfather sank while moored at a Massachusetts wharf, authorities say.
No one was on board the fishing vessels Dinah Jane and Nemesis at the time of the sinking Monday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The boats, part of Carlos Rafael's fleet, had been tied to each other at Homer's Wharf in New Bedford.
It's unclear what caused the vessels to sink. They remained submerged Tuesday while authorities waited for a lifting machine to arrive.
At least one of the boats leaked fuel into the harbor. Officials say the vessels have a combined capacity of 9,500 gallons of fuel, and it is unclear how much was lost. The New Bedford Fire Department put an oil containment boom in place to help prevent the spread of pollution.
Rafael, the owner of one of the nation's largest commercial fishing operations, was sentenced last year to nearly four years in prison after pleading guilty to evading fishing quotas and smuggling money to Portugal.
Federal authorities say Rafael falsely claimed his vessels caught haddock or pollock when they had actually caught other species subject to stricter quotas. He then sold the fish for cash, some of which was smuggled overseas.