The Coast Guard has suspended its search for the two fishermen who went missing after their clam boat sank off the coast of Nantucket, and because of the current weather conditions, State Police divers are waiting until Thursday to go into the water and confirm the location of the sunken vessel.
Michael Roberts, 49, and Jonathan Saraiva, 32, have not been seen since Monday evening, when the Misty Blue rolled over and sank about 10 miles southeast of Nantucket.
The boat’s captain, Eric Arabian, 44, and another crewman, Colby McMullen, 22, were both rescued from the water by a nearby fishing vessel. Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Andrew Barresi said both men were in good condition and were brought back to the New Bedford State Pier on Tuesday.
The Coast Guard, along with state and local agencies and other fishing vessels, searched a 1,605-square-nautical-mile area but were unable to locate the missing men.
On Tuesday, the Massachusetts State Police Dive Team used sonar and located a large object in the water that they believe to be the Misty Blue, but weather and ocean conditions prevented them from diving in to check it out.
State Police spokesman David Procopio said the divers plan to return to the area Thursday so they can go in the water and confirm whether the object is indeed the Misty Blue.
Barresi said that as of Wednesday morning, there had been no new developments since the search was suspended at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Barresi said the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.
Whether the vessel will be brought to the surface remains to be seen. It’s up to the owner of the vessel to come up with a salvage plan, Barresi said.
The Misty Blue’s time on the water has not been without troubles.
Tammy Roberts, the wife of one of the missing crew members, said the boat had broken down before.
But officials from Atlantic Capes Fisheries Inc., a New Bedford-based seafood company affiliated with the Misty Blue, contend that the vessel had been refurbished and passed all safety inspections.
On Nov. 8, a crew member of the Misty Blue filed a lawsuit against the owners of the vessel, Sea Harvest Inc. and the F/V Misty Blue. According to the complaint filed in US District Court in Boston, Matthew Lyons of Fairhaven claimed that he was injured due to “an unseaworthy condition” of the Misty Blue and “the negligence of the captain/crew of the vessel.”
Daniel Cohen, president of Atlantic Capes Fisheries, said that lawsuit was essentially a worker’s compensation case that stemmed from an incident in which the crewman accidentally stepped into a fish hold and injured his heel. The Misty Blue was not moving and was tied to the dock when he fell, he said.
Cohen said there was “no real connection” between the sinking and “a fall that happened at the dock.”
Cohen said the Misty Blue went through a US Coast Guard inspection in March of this year and passed all required safety inspections.
Cohen also said it was “premature” to talk about what caused the vessel to sink.
At a press conference Tuesday, Chad Brayton, the vessel manager for Atlantic Capes Fisheries, Inc., also attested to the boat’s condition.
“Everything’s up to date,” he told reporters. “The boat was in great shape.”Emily Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.