Final Settlement Reached In Tanker’s Sinking Of Boat
By Jules Crittenden
Boston Herald

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The final part of a complex $7.5 million settlement of lawsuits from the tragic sinking of the fishing boat Starbound by the tanker Virgo off Cape Ann last year was reached Monday, a lawyer said.

Aimee Sanfilippo of Maine, the widow of fisherman James Sanfilippo who was on watch when the boat sank, had held out until all the intertwined suits were settled. Attorney David Anderson said Sanfilippo wanted to make sure she could speak for her husband if any of the cases went to trial.

“She wanted him to remain a party to the suits so she could defend him,” he said. “She’s glad to have it resolved. She’s got kids to take care of, and they’ve lost their dad.”

The $7.5 million will go to the widows of Sanfilippo, Mark Doughty of Maine and Thomas Frontiero of Gloucester, the three fishermen who died in the wreck; surviving Capt. Joseph Marcantonio of Gloucester; and Atlantic Mariner Inc., the boat’s owner.

Anderson would not say how much each party will get. But he said most of the money came from Primorsk Shipping, Virgo’s owner. Atlantic Mariner paid a smaller amount to the widows and Marcantonio. Marcantonio, as a part owner, also gave stock and a smaller amount of cash back to his partners to settle a counter claim.

Anderson said Virgo’s Russian captain and two sailors, still in Canada facing U.S. manslaughter charges, refused to testify. But Primorsk agreed to pay, because Starbound had right of way.

“They recognized their responsibility. They wanted it over,” Anderson said.

Atlantic Mariner agreed to pay, facing liability for failing to have a general alarm switch installed on Starbound’s bridge and for failing to conduct emergency training that could have saved more lives, Anderson said.

According to affidavits, Sanfilippo woke Marcantonio before dawn on Aug. 5 as the tanker was bearing down on Starbound, saying he couldn’t get out of its way. The impact knocked them down, and the boat skidded along Virgo’s side, leaving teal paint scrapes.

Only Marcantonio got out as Starbound sank under him. He clung to a life raft for hours until a fishing boat picked him up. The Coast Guard said the Virgo – placed near the wreck by its transponder – ignored radio requests to stop. The ship was later impounded in Canada.