By Marjorie Nesin
---- — A 45-foot scalloping boat that had been expected to return from a day trip Saturday had yet to return Monday evening and the Coast Guard, which began searching for the boat Monday morning, had turned up no leads as to its whereabouts as of Monday night.
Foxy Lady II, captained by 25-year-old Wally Gray of Maine and crewed by an unidentified man, left from its home port in Gloucester Saturday morning.
The vessel, which was supposed to dock back in Gloucester later that same day, was last pegged about 15 miles north of Provincetown Saturday evening, when its vessel monitoring system (VMS) transmitter automatically sent out the boat’s location, according to Coast Guard spokesman Jeff Hall.
“We would take that as a good thing, that we basically got a ping from the box at a certain time with no other forms of distress,” Hall said. “We would assume that (at that time) they’re still in good shape and they’re still out there fishing.”
Hall said the Coast Guard has yet to receive an emergency beacon signal, an alert the Guard would typically receive if a boat began to sink.
Coast Guard stations all over Massachusetts, however, had begun searching for the vessel after the captain’s girlfriend reported the vessel overdue about 8 a.m. Monday. The woman had last heard from the captain through text messages he had sent her between 6 a.m. and noon Saturday, according the Coast Guard.
Four Coast Guard stations — out of Boston, Gloucester, Provincetown and Hull — participated in the search during the day Monday, each station sending out at least one small boat, according to Hall, who said the search had covered 360 square miles. The Coast Guard also deployed a Falcon jet to search for the Foxy Lady II during the day.
By Monday evening, however, the smaller boats wrapped up their search for the night, and three larger cutter ships continued the search through the night, Hall said.
Hall said the Coast Guard has been communicating with boats that are known to travel in the Cape Cod Bay area, and seeking to speak with crews from vessels that traveled in that area from Saturday morning and throughout the day Sunday. Coast Guard had to pause the air search early Monday evening because of low visibility, leaving the cutters to search through the night between Provincetown and Boston, according to Hall.
Hall added that low visibility could continue into Tuesday, resulting from coming rain and cold temperatures.
”We’ve got bad weather moving in right now ... it’s certainly not good for anybody out on the water right now,” Hall said.
Even so, said Hall, the Coast Guard will continue to search for at least another day today.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.