Almost a year to the date of the sinking of the New Bedford fishing vessel the F/V LEONARDO on November 24, 2019, the New England fishing community faced another tragedy with the sinking of the F/V EMMY ROSE, which is homeported in Portland, Maine and owned by Boat Aaron & Melissa, Inc. The crew on the vessel was Capt. Robert Blethen, Jeffrey Matthews, Ethan Ward, and Michael Porper.
At approximately 1:00 am on November 23, 2020, the USCG received notification from the F/V EMMY ROSE’S EPIRB. The vessel owner reported that there was no answer on the vessel’s satellite phone. The last know position of the vessel was approximately 20 nautical miles northeast of Provincetown.
USCG search efforts turned up some debris and an empty life raft and the vessel’s EPIRB. Unfortunately, the USCG’s search efforts, which included roughly 1,500 square miles off the Atlantic Coast for more than 32 hours, have not found the four fishermen. Over the course of its two-day search, the Coast Guard has deployed its MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, 210-foot “Vigorous” cutter ship, HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft, 47-foot motor lifeboat from Provincetown and 110-foot “Key Largo” cutter patrol boat from Gloucester. The USCG suspended its search at 5:22 pm on Tuesday.
It is believed that at the time of the sinking, the F/V EMMY ROSE was en route from Georges Bank to Gloucester, Massachusetts to unload its catch. According to reports, the last heard news from the crew was that they were welding parts of the boat as it was taking on water. No Mayday or call came from help from the satellite phone.
The United States Coast Guard will perform an investigation into the cause of the sinking. Possible causes will focus on what was being welded at the time of last contact, whether the sinking was due to catastrophic failure of piece of equipment or the hull of vessel, excessive flooding whether it be in the holds or engine room, whether proper maintenance or repairs were done on the vessel, whether the pumps were working properly to pump out any water on accumulating on the vessel to the stability of the vessel.
Our thoughts and prayer are with the families, relatives and friends of the crew on vessel.