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Search for two missing fishermen postponed again

The search for a missing clam boat that sank off the coast of Nantucket last week was on hold Monday as divers waited for safer conditions to go into the Atlantic Ocean.

Seven days have passed since the “Misty Blue” disappeared into the water, and two its crew members — Michael Roberts, 49, and Jonathan Saraiva, 32 — remain missing.

State Police spokesman David Procopio said rough seas have prevented divers from going into the water to check on the sunken vessel. “Ocean conditions remain unsafe for divers,” Procopio said in an e-mail Monday. “We will reassess later this week.”

The Rev. David Lima released a statement to the media on behalf of Saraiva’s family.

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“Due to the weather, recovery dives to the Misty Blue have been postponed multiple times and this has been emotionally crushing,” the statement said. “The hope to recover and bring their son and brother home is their biggest desire now.”

The statement said that Saraiva was born in January 1985 in Hawaii. His father was a Marine and the family lived in many places, including Cornwall, England; New London, N.H.; Boca Raton, Fla.; Acushnet, and New Bedford.

After graduating from New Bedford High School, he worked at golf courses in New Hampshire and as a fisherman out of New Jersey, New Bedford, and Fairhaven. Saraiva was described as a quiet person who loved animals (he once rescued his family’s cat, Chloe, from coyotes) and enjoyed being outdoors and working on the open ocean.

“Jon’s mother, Susan Saraiva, once asked him if he really liked fishing and his reply was typical of his nature,” the statement said. “He stated that he really did, describing the peacefulness and beauty of the ocean and the wildlife. He specifically spoke of how much he enjoyed watching all of the dolphins that would follow the ship.”

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Saraiva didn’t hide his love of fishing. One of the quotes on his Facebook page is “clammin oh yeah!!!!”

According to his family, Saraiva “jumped at the chance” to return to Fairhaven when his former boss, Eric Arabian, offered him a job as first mate on the Misty Blue.

The Misty Blue had been harvesting surf clams Dec. 4 when it ran into trouble and sank about 10 miles off the coast of Nantucket. Arabian, 44, and another crewman, Colby McMullen, 22, survived and were rescued from the water by a nearby fishing vessel.

Roberts and Saraiva have not been seen since.

Using sonar, the State Police Dive Team on Dec. 4 located a large object in the water that they believe to be the Misty Blue, but State Police said weather and ocean conditions have prevented them from diving in to get a closer look.

The cause of the sinking remains undetermined.

The incident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and the US Coast Guard.


Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.