A U.S. Coast Guard investigation into the sinking of a the fishing boat Robert C. Monday afternoon off Dogfish Bar at the western end of the Vineyard, remains open and active, according to a Coast Guard spokesman. 

Douglas Soares of Fairhaven, the owner of the sunken vessel, reportedly has decided not to salvage the 33-foot wooden boat, which went down in 40 to 50 feet of water after colliding with another fishing boat.

Coast Guard petty officer LaNola Stone said the role of the Coast Guard is to work with the owner and state environmental officials to make sure there is no further contamination from fuel. She said a team will dive on the wreck to seal the fuel tanks.

“They’re going to plug the holes,” the petty officer said. “The owner is responsible for marking the wreck, since he has chosen not to salvage the vessel.”

According to Menemsha harbor master Dennis Jason, a lobster boat fishing nearby rescued the operator of the Robert C.

“The boat sank rather quickly, probably under a minute,” said Mr. Jason. “The lobster boat Shearwater was passing by, about a quarter mile away, turned around and by the time he got to the location, the boat had sunk.”

The other boat involved was Pedlar, a 42-foot wooden fishing vessel also out of Fairhaven and owned by Walter Dixon, according to U.S. Coast Guard records. Mr. Jason said because of extensive damage to the bow of Pedlar, it appeared to be a near head-on collision. Pedlar motored to Menemsha Harbor following the mishap.

Coast Guard crews from Station Menemsha launched a 47-foot response boat and followed with a 27-foot response boat to check for pollution, but found no significant spill. Mr. Jason also responded.

According to a Coast Guard spokesman, the first call came in to the U.S. Coast Guard at 12:08 p.m. Monday. Winds were blowing at 20 knots from the southwest and visibility was reduced because of heavy rain.