By Richard Gaines
---- — The U.S. Coast Guard is examining underwater photographs of what has been described as widespread wreckage of the 45-foot long, Gloucester-based fishing vessel Foxy Lady II, which vanished in mid-December with a crew of two scallopers who lived in Maine.
The wreckage was discovered between Gloucester and Provincetown on Friday.
Photographers from the Massachusetts Environmental Police were in the water Saturday gathering evidence of the catastrophe, which yielded no sign of the two-man crew, Captain Wallace “Chubby” Gray II, 26, and Wayne Young, 50, both of Deer Isle, Maine. Gray was identified by the family as Young’s nephew.
Adam Stanton, a public affairs specialist for Coast Guard Sector Boston, said, “there are several different pinpoints of wreckage,” making it impossible to say precisely where the boat was immediately before it went down. “There are pieces everywhere.”
The photographers from the Massachusetts Environmental Police “dived on several pieces,” and the Coast Guard was studying the photos to get an understanding of what happened to the Foxy Lady II.
The boat was reported overdue on Dec. 17, two days after it left Gloucester for a day trip of scalloping on Stellwagen Bank, less than 20 nautical sea miles from Gloucester.
The Coast Guard does not undertake salvage operations, so whether the remnants of the vessel are brought up would be up to the vessel’s owner.
An unopened rescue pod from the Foxy Lady washed ashore in the marshes of Saugus on Dec. 18, about the time the Coast Guard called off the search and rescue operation in gale-force conditions. The search was resumed and eventually covered approximately 2,800 square miles of Massachusetts Bay.
A vigil for the two fishermen was held at Fishermen’s Memorial on Dec. 26.
The Coast Guard was notified that the Foxy Lady II was overdue by Gray’s girlfriend. She said she last heard from him via text messages on Dec. 15; the boat had left Gloucester that Saturday morning.
The EPIRB — or emergency position-indicating radio beacon — did not activate, according to the Coast Guard. The VMS or vessel monitoring system, which periodically emits radio signals for law enforcement purposes, indicated the boat was 15 miles north of Provincetown on the night of Dec. 15.
Gray and Young are the seventh and eighth Gloucester fishermen to have been lost since January 2009, when the F/V Patriot went down very near the last known location of the Foxy Lady II, taking the lives of the crew of two aboard. The cause of that sinking was never determined.
The Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association has established a memorial fund for the families of the crew of the Foxy Lady II through BankGloucester.
Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, ext. 3464, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.