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Operator: Stranded boat was in restricted area

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 29, 2014 at 1:17 pm •  Published: July 29, 2014

BOSTON (AP) — A group of whale watchers expecting only an afternoon tour were forced instead to spend a long night at sea after their boat was snagged by a mooring cable off Massachusetts, officials and passengers said Tuesday.

Boston Harbor Cruises, which operates the whale watch, confirmed that the 83-foot Cetacea strayed into a restricted area, and the company said it was cooperating with a Coast Guard investigation.

Some 17 hours after the voyage began, divers freed the boat early Tuesday and it docked at Boston's Long Wharf shortly after 8 a.m. No injuries were reported for any of the 157 passengers or six crew members, but a number of people suffered seasickness during the long wait, according to passengers.

The whale watch, one of the most popular summer tourist attractions in the Boston area, came to an abrupt stop about 13 miles offshore Monday afternoon after one of the propellers became entangled with a cable in the Northeast Gateway Deepwater Port, the Coast Guard said. The facility handles large liquefied natural gas tankers entering Massachusetts Bay.

The vessel was in a "restricted management area" when it got stuck, Boston Harbor Cruises said. The company planned meetings with the captain and crew but said it would defer to the Coast Guard's findings "as to whether or not operator error was a contributing factor to the entanglement."

Ken Maguire, who was with his wife and two daughters, ages 6 and 9, spent a sleepless night on the vessel in choppy seas.

"It was kind of like being on the tarmac on a plane, and it's not taking off and you are waiting and waiting, except the plane is rocking back and forth," said Maguire, who lives in Falls Church, Virginia.

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