A FISHING trips company is facing a huge financial loss after its vessel Stoney Broke sank in Whitby harbour.
The £25,000 fishing trip transporter is thought to have been tampered with overnight on Monday after it was found tied up incorrectly to the harbour side.
When the tide rose on Tuesday morning, the boat capsized and later sunk.
Whitby RNLI assisted with the operation to re-float the empty with the use of an inshore lifeboat.
The company Whitby Fishing Trips says it is now looking at a loss of earnings of about £15,000 because Stoney Broke will be out of actions for some weeks.
Owner Barry Rodgers, 73, the longest-serving skipper in Whitby, said: “I just can’t believe it - we’re absolutely knackered now.
“We’re going to lose about £15,000 in earnings because of the time of year this has happened in.
“Our insurance rates for the boat is at £25,000 - but it’s going to cost us money because we’re out of action aren’t we.”
Mr Rodgers said he believed yobs had deliberately fastened the rope from the deck of the boat to the harbour wall - causing it to flip over and sink.
He said: “I was just absolutely devastated when I got down here early this morning - how could someone do this to us.
“Someone’s basically messed around with the line last night and tied it up to the harbour wall from the deck.
“The tide has come in and Stoney Broke has got caught on the ladders - and has caused it to capsize.”
He added: “I’ve been doing this now for 40 years - I’m the longest serving skipper in this town and nothing like this has ever happened.”
The boat trip company can rake in thousands of pounds in cash earnings during the summer season - but Mr Rodgers says it will take the company a long time to recover.
The Whitby RNLI volunteer crew took the boat up the harbour to assess the situation, though no passengers were on board at the time of the sinking.
RNLI station mechanic Richard Dowson said: “We are waiting for low tide and the boat to be resting on the bottom of the harbour and hopefully we will be able to pump the water out and get her floating again.”