Coast Guard completes investigation into Lady Luck sinking

BOSTON – One year after two lives were lost when the fishing vessel Lady Luck sank off the coast of Maine, Coast Guard investigators have determined that a rapid loss of stability is most likely what caused the vessel to capsize.

Coast Guard crews searched more than 8,000 square miles for the Newburyport, Mass.-based vessel after receiving an electronic signal from the fishing vessel’s emergency position indicating radio beacon around 2 a.m., Feb. 1, 2007.

“The results of the investigation indicate that the vessel sank very rapidly,” said Capt. Jim Rendon, commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “Although we may never really know what happened, the available evidence suggests the vessel probably capsized as a result of water on the decks, uncontrolled flooding in the lazarette, or a combination of both.”

Neither of the Lady Luck’s crewmembers was ever found. The vessel was located about 30 miles southeast of Portland, Maine, at a depth of more than 500 feet.

Naval architects with the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center in Washington, D.C., used a computer-aided model, combined with underwater video, to help determine the vessel’s stability characteristics.

Using video footage obtained with a remotely operated vehicle, investigators determined there was no catastrophic damage to the vessel’s hull or superstructure. The life raft had deployed but was still attached to the cradle, indicating the weak link may have malfunctioned, or the raft may have been improperly installed.

“Our condolences go out to the families of the two fishermen who lost their lives in this tragedy,” said Rendon. “We hope the results of this investigation can offer some closure to the families and serve as a reminder to the fishing community of the possible dangers at sea.”

 Editors Note: a lazarette is a small storeroom within the hull of a ship, usually at the extreme stern.

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.