Two green buoys damaged by rifle fire

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 12:45pm

The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed that two navigational buoys located off the coast of Block Island have been found damaged by bullet holes within the past week. 

The Clay Head buoy, No. 7, was found sunk with more than 20 bullet holes in it when Coast Guard crews were conducting regular aids-to-navigation maintenance on Monday, April 24. The Coast Guard identified the other buoy as buoy No. 1, but its location was not immediately known.

"While it may be fun to use a buoy for target practice, it is a federal crime," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Timothy Chase, the U.S. Coast Guard officer in charge of aids-to-navigation in the vicinity of Block Island. "Buoy number 7 became a navigational hazard that could have easily been struck by a vessel and seriously injured or killed mariners."

According to a press release issued by the Coast Guard, buoy No. 7 weighs 12,000 pounds and when it was found submerged it had 20 bullet holes in it.

The press release continued, saying: “Due to the extensive damage, this buoy was taken out of service for repairs. This aid to navigation marks a large rock three feet below the water's surface. Ferries transit this route frequently and provide critical supplies to Block Island. Buoy number 7 is supposed to be a key navigational tool for mariners and turned into a navigational hazard.

“Damaging or tampering with federal aids-to-navigation is a crime and the maximum penalties upon conviction are up to 20 years of imprisonment and as much as $2,500 fine per day for each violation.”

Contact the New Shoreham Police Department at (401) 466-3220 or the Coast Guard at (401) 435-2351 with any information about this crime.