Nautical News: For the week of December 10, 2017



The Coast Guard has suspended its search for two missing crewmembers aboard a clam boat that sank 10 miles off the southeast corner of Nantucket. The 69 foot clam boat Misty Blue’s EPIRB sent out a distress signal and another nearby clam boat rescued two of the four fishermen on board. They were brought uninjured to an approaching Coast Guard boat, but the other two Misty Blue crewmembers couldn’t be found. After searching hundreds of square miles for more than 24 hours, the Coast Guard suspended its search. Massachusetts State Police using sonar believe they have located the sunken vessel in about 80 feet of water and were sending divers down to investigate. The two missing fishermen were identified as 44 year old Michael Roberts and 32 year old Jonathan Saraiva from Fairhaven and New Bedford.




Now that the public comment period ended on December 5th, the New England Fishery Management Council will decide a number of proposed changes to essential fish habitats and areas within the council’s jurisdiction. One of the proposed changes includes opening the northern portion of Georges Bank to scallop fishermen. The council said the potential economic benefits outweighed the benefits of keeping the area closed. Other changes proposed include designating two new dedicated habitat research areas and establishing 16 canyons and 2 seamounts as “Habitat Areas of Particular Concern.” These new closed areas to fishing come on the heels of President Trump’s announcement that the recently created underwater seamounts and national monument areas crated by former President Obama will now be re-opened to fishermen. NOAA Fisheries must make a decision on its proposals by January 4th. Then the new proposals would have to be approved by President Trumps Secretary of Commerce.




Brunswick Corp. announced that it was putting Sea Ray, one of its recreational boat companies, up for sale. Corporate analysts and the entire marine industry were shocked by the announcement. Officials at Brunswick said they wanted their employees to be the first to know and that they expect to take a loss on the sale. Brunswick has owned the Sea Ray boat company for more than thirty years after purchasing it from its founder, Connie Ray, in 1986. That same year Brunswick purchased Bayliner Boats, making Brunswick the largest boat builder in the world. At its peak, Sea Ray had annual sales of 28,000 boats a year. Today, Sea Ray’s annual unit volume is about 10% of that number.




A very large container ship broke free from the dock at Boston’s Paul W. Conley Container Terminal and drifted into the main shipping channel. The Coast Guard, the Massport Fire boat, the Boston Police and Massachusetts State Police departments responded to the scene, but they all had to wait for harbor tug boats to get tow lines on the ship. The container ship’s crew was then brought on board the ship and it was towed to the outer harbor’s anchorage area. Officials said winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour caused the ship’s 12 large dock lines to break. As many as 10 port workers were aboard the 1065 foot long ship when it broke free, but they all managed to get ashore without being injured. However, there was some damage to the pier and gangway.




Remember the story about Nathan Carmen, the young man who took his mother on a fishing trip on his boat that sank and killed his mother. The sinking occurred in September 2016 about 100 miles offshore. Nathan’s mother, Linda Carman, was never found, but Nathan was rescued a week later on a life raft. He was in federal court this past Thursday trying to collect insurance money for the loss of his boat. A witness for the insurance company that denied his claim testified that a power tool was used to make screw holes on the boat larger and have asked a judge to declare the insurance claim on the boat invalid. So far, no criminal charges have been filed against the young man who could inherit millions of dollars from his mother’s estate.




And remember the story about the 400 pound headless tuna found around Halloween in the woods in the city of Gloucester? Massachusetts Environmental Police just arrested a 40 year old Gloucester fisherman and charged him with improper disposal of waste, expelling trash or litter from a motor vehicle, and operating a motor vehicle after suspension of his license for driving under the influence. Additional charges are expected to be filed by NOAA Fisheries for the illegal harvest of a bluefin tuna. The investigation was helped by surveillance videos and several citizens who came forward as witnesses. The video showed the tuna being landed 15 days after the tuna season closed and a witness said he observed the person who was arrested drive a vehicle down the street with a tuna being dragged behind it. Another surveillance video supported the witness’s testimony. After police found the tuna in the woods, they called a tow truck to take it away. The carcass was donated to a farm where it will be used as compost.




The Coast Guard is asking the public to participate in a Buzzards Bay Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment workshop next year. The workshop is a joint effort to involve people who use the waterways to identify hazards to navigation and risk levels in Buzzards Bay. The workshop is scheduled for February 7th – 8th. Anyone who wants to participate in the workshop is asked to send their name and contact information to before December 22nd. Pawsa is an acronym for Ports And Waterways Safety Assessment. Invitations will be then sent out to those who are selected.




And the distance from the coast of Ireland to the U.S. east coast is more than 3000 miles. Despite the long distance, a miniature model sailboat found its way to our shores across the Atlantic with no damage. The person who found the boat while walking the beach also found an email address on the boat His initial thoughts were to keep the boat and mount it on a window sill, but after emailing its owner and hearing about how this boat was launched in 2006 to study ocean currents, he decided to follow the owner’s instructions and put it back into the water to see where it ends up next. So far, people in between Canada and South Carolina have emailed the owner in Ireland to report their find. People have been doing the right thing so far, but I bet somebody is going to say finders keepers.




Once again our Flying Santa helicopter flights are underway to New England’s lighthouses and U. S. Coast Guard stations. As you may know, the Flying Santa flights were established by pilot Captain William Wincapaw back in 1929 as a gesture of gratitude and appreciation for the crews and families stationed at the lonely lighthouses and lifeboat stations around Maine’s Penobscot Bay. Through the years, responsibility for these flights was passed from the Wincapaw family to maritime author Edward Rowe Snow and his family. From the Snows it was passed to the Hull Lifesaving Museum and from there to the present Friends of Flying Santa. Our flights now include more than 1200 children from over 90 USCG units from Jonesport, Maine to Jones Beach, New York. These Flying Santa visits are a huge morale event, bringing together the crews and families for a special holiday gathering. The smiles on the faces of the adults are just as bright as those of their children.

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