Coast Guard issues safety zone, continues investigation into Patriot sinking

BOSTON – The Coast Guard placed a safety zone at 11 p.m., Thursday around the site where the fishing vessel Patriot is believed to have gone down early Saturday morning near Gloucester, Mass.

“We have established a safety zone to preserve the integrity of the scene and vessel while investigators continue working on this case,” said Capt. Gail Kulisch, the commander of Coast Guard Sector Boston. “Furthermore, the area presents a potential hazard to other fishing vessels operating in the area with fishing gear extended.”

Any boats that enter the safety zone will be instructed to leave the area immediately unless they have prior permission from the Captain of the Port of Boston.

Anyone violating the safety zone is subject to a civil penalty up to $32,500 and a criminal penalty up to five years in prison.

On the investigation front, the Coast Guard interviewed six crewmembers that were aboard a tug and barge believed to have been in the vicinity of the Patriot’s last known position at the time of casualty. The Coast Guard is seeking to interview three other witnesses who may have information about the casualty. Investigators hope the crewmen can offer additional information to explain what happened to the 54-foot stern trawler.

Coast Guard casualty investigators traveled to Maryland to inspect the tug and barge, and have taken the tow line into custody for further analysis.

“We continue to interview people in the Gloucester area about the Patriot casualty,” Kulisch said. “We ask that anyone with information contact the Sector Boston Investigation Department at 617-557-9085.”

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