Coast Guard verifies position of fishing vessel Lady Mary

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – In a joint effort between the Coast Guard and New Jersey State Police, the final resting place of the fishing vessel Lady Mary, which sank southeast of Cape May, N.J., and taking six lives, has been verified Wednesday.

The Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation, the group in charge of looking into the facts and circumstances surrounding the sinking of the vessel, solicited the help of the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Willow, a 225-foot buoy tender homeported in Newport, R.I., and the Marine Services Bureau of the New Jersey State Police to send a remotely operated vehicle down to the Lady Mary wreck site.

The external survey by the ROV shows the Lady Mary generally sitting upright on the bottom. The survey did not reveal any evidence of the remaining missing crew members. The ROV, however, does not have the capability to enter into the vessels internal spaces.

Earlier in the month, the NOAA survey ship, Thomas Jefferson, had conducted a sonar survey of the probable resting place of the Lady Mary and identified what was believed to be the vessel but ROV confirmation was not possible due to rough weather.

The crew of the Willow hosted members of the MBI and a NJSP ROV team for another attempt to verify the wreck site. The Willow, which has dynamic positioning capabilities the crew uses to accurately set buoy positions, used that capability to hold a steady position for an extended time period and permit the NJSP ROV operators time to examine the external view of the Lady Mary.

Formal hearings conducted by the MBI are scheduled to resume on Monday, May 4, 2009, at the Oceanside Club in Cape May.

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