Coast Guard investigates sunken fishing boats in New Bedford

Photo: Eric Halperin/WPRI-TV

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — The Coast Guard is investigating two sunken fishing boats in New Bedford harbor.

The Coast Guard says the New Bedford Fire Department found the vessels tied together with a sheen around them early Monday. Firefighters placed a containment boom to mitigate pollution.

The 65-foot Dinah Jane and 67-foot Nemesis are owned by Carlos Rafael, a magnate known as “The Codfather.”

Rafael pleaded guilty to smuggling money to Portugal and evading fishing quotas. In September, he was sentenced to nearly four years in prison.

An activated emergency beacon aboard one of the vessels alerted the Coast Guard at about 1 a.m. Monday.

The boats reportedly can carry about 9,500 gallons of fuel combined.

The Coast Guard is coordinating the cleanup and investigating the cause.