Coast Guard recognizes regional dive team for contributions to Lady Mary investigation

Mid Atlantic Coast Guard News
PHILADELPHIA — The captain of the port for Sector Delaware Bay presented a regional dive team with Public Service Commendation Awards Friday for their contributions to the Coast Guard’s and National Transportation Safety Board’s investigations into the sinking of the fishing vessel Lady Mary.

The team made three expeditions to the vessel in 2009, diving 211 feet below the water’s surface in order to take photos and video of the vessel to help investigators determine the cause of the sinking.

The Lady Mary, which was homeported in Cape May, N.J., sank 65 nautical miles off the New Jersey Coast on the morning of March 24, 2009. Only one member from the seven-person crew survived the incident. After the search and rescue case concluded, the Coast Guard and NTSB began a joint investigation into the cause of the vessel’s sinking.

The dive team members recognized Friday assisted in the investigation by conducting dives avoiding the fishing vessel’s nets and gear in order to collect information. Due to offshore operation hazards, the team took time off from their usual employment and volunteered extra hours to make the most of limited weather windows.

Nine members of the team attended the presentation at the Coast Guard Sector building in South Philadelphia. The award recipients are Harold Moyer, Rustin Cassway, Joe Mazraani, Jon Hulbert, Paul Whittaker, Anthony Tedeschi, Mark Nix, Bart Malone and Andrew Donn. Bradley Sheard and Tom Packer, although unable to attend the presentation ceremony, were also awarded the commendation.

“The expertise, talent and time this team provided were critical to helping investigators understand the events and circumstances surrounding the loss of the Lady Mary’s crew,” said Capt. Kathy Moore, the captain of the port for Sector Delaware Bay. “It’s our hope that if we can learn from this incident and address the cause of a tragedy like this, we can help prevent more accidents from occurring in the future.”

Investigators concluded in their investigation in 2011 and determined the probable cause of the sinking was sea water flooding into the vessel through an access hatch that had been left open.

Capt. Kathy Moore, the captain of the port for Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, presents Public Service Commendation Awards to members of a regional dive team at the sector building in south Philadelphia, Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. Members of the dive team assisted the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board in gathering photo and video of the fishing vessel Lady Mary, a vessel that sank March 24, 2009, which was used during the investigation to help determine the cause of the incident. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin McCormack

Capt. Kathy Moore, the captain of the port for Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, presents Public Service Commendation Awards to members of a regional dive team at the sector building in south Philadelphia, Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin McCormack

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