Starbound Families Settle Civil Lawsuit With Owner
Reach Agreement For Undisclosed Amount
By Dexter Van Zile
National Fisherman
December 2002

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Fishermen may never find out exactly what happened onboard the Virgo the night it collided with the fishing vessel Starbound 130 miles off Cape Ann in August 2001, but the last civil suit arising from the tragedy has been resolved.

The settlement, the amount of which was undisclosed, was approved at the U.S. District Court in Portland, Maine, in late September, and resolved claims against the Starbound’s owners in the loss of three crewmen: Mark Doughty of Yarmouth, Maine; Thomas Frontiero of Gloucester, Mass.; and James Sanfilippo of Thomaston, Maine.

Attorney Carolyn Latti, who represented Sanfilippo’s family, says the families pursued Atlantic Mariner, which owned the vessel, for damages arising from the crew’s failure to survive the sinking. Since the skipper Joe Marcantonio of Gloucester was able to get clear of the vessel, it’s possible the rest of the crew could have survived, Latti says. Their chances for survival were diminished, she says, because the general alarm onboard the Starbound was not placed on the console where it was readily accessible to the man at the wheel. In addition, emergency training did not take place on the vessel, Latti says.

As far as what happened onboard the Virgo, the night of the collision, there isn’t much hope of finding out, Latti says. The criminal case against the oil tanker’s crew, who are currently in Canada, could end up in Cyprus where the vessel was flagged, or it could end up in Russia, where Primorsk, the company which owns the vessel, is headquartered.