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Commercial vessel sinks, spilling fuel into harbor

An 85-foot commercial boat docked off East Boston sank Sunday afternoon, spilling fuel into Boston Harbor, according to fire officials and the US Coast Guard.

Authorities ordered a crew to clean up the spilled oil Sunday night to prevent any pollution, said Coast Guard Chief Patrick Fish, who added that he did not know how much fuel had spilled.

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A makeshift floating dam was placed around the boat Sunday to contain the spill, said Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.

MacDonald said about three-quarters of the boat was underwater Sunday night, sinking next to a pier near the 400-block of Border Street. A passerby first alerted officials of the sinking boat, he said.

The boat, dubbed Virginia C 2, was a commercial passenger boat that has been unlicensed since 2011, Fish said.

He said authorities have contacted the boat’s owner, but no decision has been made yet on whether to extract the boat.

“We’re more worried about the [oil] sheening,” Fish said.

Authorities are investigating what caused the boat to sink.

No injuries were reported.

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @JaclynReiss.
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