By James Niedzinski
---- — GLOUCESTER — While the U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for a vessel that went missing earlier this week, the Guard’s Marine Board of Investigations will now be conducting an investigation in an effort to find out what happened to that vessel, the Foxy Lady II and its crew.
The primary focus of the Coast Guard efforts had been searching for any of the crew members before hypothermia may have set in, in addition to other safety concerns. The Foxy Lady II, manned by Capt. Wally Gray Jr., 26 and Wayne Young, 50, both of Deer Isle, Maine, are presumed lost at sea and the search was suspended Wednesday around 5 p.m.
The vessel had set out for a day trip on Saturday, Dec. 15; it was first reported missing by the captain’s girlfriend on Monday, Dec. 17.
The board will review all of the Coast Guard information in more detail, according to Chief Petty Officer Jeff Hall.
A rescue pod identified as being from the Foxy Lady II, was found in a Saugus marsh on Tuesday around 5 p.m. Hall confirmed it was from the same vessel and said a typical rescue pod may include supplies such as water, flares, food and other emergency items. The pod that was recovered, however, did not appear to have ever been opened, and there was no sign of anybody inside, he said.
No other verified items from the Foxy Lady II have been recovered. On the same night the rescue pod washed ashore in Saugus, there were also reports that nets and other fishing gear had been found in Hull. But none of that equipment has been linked to the missing scallop boat.
Hall said an investigation is very thorough and could take months.
The board plans to investigate all the data gathered by the Coast Guard, further interviews with friends and family members, boat inspection records, weather patterns and all other marine traffic in the area when the vessel was first reported missing.
Vigil here Sunday
Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil is being planned for the crew of the Foxy Lady II in Gloucester, and is scheduled for Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Gloucester Fishermen’s Memorial on Stacy Boulevard.
Various churches and synagogues helped organize the event, but all are welcomed to attend, said the Rev. Rona Tyndall, one of the vigil organizers. In addition, the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association is in the process of starting a fund through BankGloucester to benefit the family members and relatives of the crew. A collection plate will be available at the vigil.
Angela Sanfillipo, president of the wives association, said the crew members were well known in town.
“Just because they don’t live in Gloucester, that doesn’t mean they’re not our fishermen,” she said.
Donations for the Foxy Lady II fund may be sent to care of Gloucester Bank, 160 Main St., Gloucester.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.