Missing crewmembers recovered from Misty Blue vessel wreckage by divers

Published on
December 20, 2017

Massachusetts State Police divers recovered the bodies of the sunken New England vessel Misty Blue’s missing crewmembers on Monday, 18 December. Crewmen Michael Roberts, 44, and Jonathan Saraiva, 32, had not been accounted for since the vessel rolled over and sank while harvesting surf clams on 4 December.

Misty Blue’s captain Eric Arabian, 44, and another crewman, Colby McMullen, 22, were rescued by the F/V Enterprise 10 miles out from Nantucket, Massachusetts after issuing a distress call in the early evening of 4 December. Arabian and McMullen were able to don survival suits before the Misty Blue overturned, while Roberts and Saraiva were in the process of putting on their suits when the incident occurred, according to reports. 

“This is a sorrow-filled day for everyone, not only at Atlantic Capes but also in the greater New England fishing community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Roberts and Saraiva families during this difficult time,” said Danny Cohen, President of Atlantic Capes Fisheries (ACF), in a statement.  ACF is the owner of Misty Blue’s operator, New Jersey-based Sea Harvest.  

The Enterprise, accompanied by two other fishing boats, searched the waters near to the shipwreck in the immediate aftermath of the incident, with the Coast Guard later taking over and inspecting an expanse of 1,605 square-nautical-miles, finding only a debris field a mile out from the accident site. Due to inclement weather and ocean conditions, authorities were unable to inspect Misty Blue’s wreckage for two weeks.  Roberts and Saraiva were found inside the vessel once police divers were able to access the sunken boat. 

“Our divers recovered two bodies from the sunken vessel Misty Blue today. The first recovery was at 10:30 a.m., the second at 4:20 p.m.," police spokesman Dave Procopio said. "We offer our deepest condolences to their families. I have no further information to relay."

The deaths of Roberts, who was a five-year veteran with Atlantic Capes, and Saraiva, who was new to the crew, have left communities devastated, vessel manager Chad Brayton said.

“We were all devastated to lose an old friend and new colleague. We join with their families and the rest of the harbor in mourning their loss,” Brayton said. “The divers deserve our deepest respect. That was a difficult dive, in strong currents on Nantucket shoals, which has to be accomplished in very limited time.”

Officials are investigating the cause of the Misty Blue's sinking, Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrew Barresi told New Bedford radio station WBSM.

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