The U.S. Coast Guard is offering a cash reward for information concerning the theft of sound signaling devices from navigational buoys off Maine’s coast.
Over the last nine months, nine buoys had bells stolen from Penobscot Bay. White Bull Lighted Gong Buoy (Light List #6450) is believed to be the latest buoy stolen after a mariner reported the 371-pound bell assembly was missing. The buoy is located about two miles east of Bailey Island.
The bells attached to buoys help mariners navigate safely during times of reduced visibility. They play a vital role in the safe passage of ships and mariners.
The affected buoys are:
1. Fox Island Thorofare Lighted Bell Buoy FT Lat: 44-05-17.551N, Long: 068-57-16.927W (Entrance Buoy for Fox Island Thorofare; primarily used by the North Haven ferries)
2. West Penobscot Bay Entrance Lighted Gong Buoy PB Lat: 44-05-53.570N, Long: 069-00-11.912W (Entrance Buoy marking West Penobscot Bay)
3. Eagle Island Gong Buoy 3A Lat: 44-13-06.717N, Long: 068-45-52.152W (Located 500yds NE of Eagle island. Between Eagle Island and Deer Island. Marks Passage through East Penobscot Bay)
4. Porcupine Ledge Bell Buoy 3 Lat: 44-12-22.188N Long: 068-45-44.766W (Located 800 yds NE of Porcupine Ledges. Between Eagle Island is Deer Island. Marks Passage through East Penobscot Bay)
5. Little Breaking Ledge Lighted Gong Buoy 1 Lat: 44-30-40.982N, Long: 067-30-11.743W (Marks hazardous ledge and Aids passage to Chandler Bay or East entrance to Jonesport.)
6. Long Ledge Lighted Gong Buoy 1 Lat: 44-13-15.892N Long: 068-17-46.986W (Located 2 nm southwest of Great Cranberry Island.)
7. Wheeler Rocks Bell Buoy 1W 43-54-31.788N / 069-06-51.262W (marks a series of underwater rocks, hazardous to marine traffic.)
8. South Breaker Bell Buoy 2SB Lat: 43-58-17.086N, Long: 069-07-31.724W (Mussel Ridge Channel, Penobscot Bay)
Of those aids to navigation, all have since had the sound signaling equipment replaced except for the following five, which are pending repair:
- Eagle Island Gong Buoy 3A
- Porcupine Ledge Bell Buoy 3
- Little Breaking Ledge Lighted Gong Buoy 1
- South Breaker Bell Buoy 2SB
- White Bull Lighted Gong Buoy
Tampering with aids to navigation is a federal crime and can lead to fines up to $25,000 per day or up to one year in prison.
Anyone with information regarding the missing sound signaling devices is urged to contact the Coast Guard Sector Northern New England Command Center at 207-767-0303. People who provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of are eligible to receive up to one-half of the fine imposed.