The owner of a Maine fishing boat that sank off the coast of Massachusetts last November is asking a federal judge to find it’s not at fault.
In the filing in U.S. District Court of Maine, Boat Aaron and Melissa Inc. said that the Emmy Rose was “seaworthy, tight, staunch, strong, and fit” before it headed out to sea on its fateful trip.
As a result, the company shouldn’t be held liable for any deaths, injuries or damages from the sinking, according to the court document. Such filings are standard in these cases.
No lawsuits have been filed in connection with the sinking of the Emmy Rose, but the boat’s owner expects that such claims will be filed on behalf of the families of those who died aboard the vessel.
The document, dated Jan. 4, was filed on behalf of Boat Aaron and Melissa by David S. Smith of the firm Farrell, Smith, O’Connell, Aarsheim, Aprans LLP of Salem, Massachusetts.
The 80-foot Emmy Rose left Portland for a fishing trip for haddock, hake and pollock on Nov. 18, 2020, with Robert Blethen Jr. as captain and Jeffrey Matthews, Ethan Ward and Michael Porper as crew, according to court documents.
On the evening of Nov. 22, the crew radioed that they were heading into Gloucester, Massachusetts, with their catch and gave no indication of any problems with the boat. In the early morning hours of Nov. 23, the Emmy Rose sent out an emergency ping about 27 nautical miles northeast of Provincetown, Massachusetts, according to the filing.
No radio distress call was ever sent.
The U.S. Coast Guard launched an expansive search for the Emmy Rose and its crew. Over 38 hours, the Coast Guard searched 2,600 square miles of ocean, but no trace of the Emmy Rose nor the crew was found.
The search effort was marred by 30 mph winds and 6- to 8-foot waves before it was called off on Nov. 24.
Blethen, Matthews, Ward and Porper are presumed dead.
The fishermen’s deaths shocked the Maine fishing community and came after the deadly Jan. 23 sinking of the Hayley Ann off Portland that claimed the lives of captain Joe Nickerson and his crew member Chris Pinkham.