Coast Guard: no decision yet in fatal boat collision

Posted Jan. 31, 2011, at 9:45 p.m.

WINTER HARBOR, Maine — Seven months after a boat collision off Winter Harbor resulted in the death of a local lobster fisherman, the Coast Guard still has not decided whether it might take punitive action in the case.

Lt. Kevin Beck of U.S. Coast Guard Northern New England in Portland said Monday the investigation and an ensuing report on the incident recently have been completed, but that the report is not being released to the public yet. It is being sent to Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., where officials will decide what to do, he said.

Beck said it might take a few more months before the Coast Guard authorities decide whether to take action because of the fatal accident.

“It should be in their hands early this spring,” Beck said.

The collision between the two lobster-fishing boats, Linda Diane and Master Simon, happened June 30, 2010, off the western side of Schoodic Point. The Master Simon, heading back to Winter Harbor in the early afternoon, rammed the starboard side of the Linda Diane and broke it in two, sinking it in about 85 feet of water.

Phil Torrey, 37, captain of the Master Simon, helped pull Frank Jordan, owner and operator of the Linda Diane, out of the water, but Jordan was unresponsive. Torrey sped back to Winter Harbor with Jordan on the Master Simon but Jordan, 71, was declared dead at the dock, officials have said.

Neither Torrey, his sternman, nor Jordan’s sternman, who had managed to leap from the sinking Linda Diane onto Master Simon, suffered any serious injuries in the collision.

Torrey and other local fishermen have said that Torrey and Jordan got along well, and that the collision was an accident.

Torrey has said he had just sat down on his boat to eat a sandwich and simply did not see the other boat until the Master Simon had rammed it.

Beck said Monday the Coast Guard has taken more time with this case than usual because of the attention it has received. He said the agency wants to make sure it has all the relevant facts and makes all the appropriate considerations before it issues a decision.

“It does take longer than a normal case would,” Beck said. “We realize this is a high-visibility case.”