F/V EMMY ROSE disappeared in rough weather off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts on November 23, 2020. The only remnant recovered during the subsequent search and rescue operation was an empty life raft. Neither the vessel nor its crew were found despite three days of searching. Jeff Matthews, Ethan Ward, Michael Porpa, and Robert Blethen were lost at sea.
The families of the commercial fishermen tragically killed in this incident sought damages in federal court. There being $1 million of insurance coverage, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock distributed the limited settlement funds to dependents and family members of the seaman victims. He explained:
"Each man died an unspeakably tragic and terrible death, each likely aware of his impending death while struggling to survive in a dark, cold and angry ocean .... Other than the inescapable inference that each man drowned, there is no direct evidence as to how he drowned .... Thus, there is no basis for the court to find that one man outlived another or that one man died more or less painfully than another."
Several months after the sinking, the United States Coast Guard investigation located the wreck of F/V EMMY ROSE 25 miles off the coast near Provincetown, Massachusetts. The wreck site was surveyed in September, 2021 with hopes of determining what caused the casualty and loss of life. For now, the cause of the accident remains unknown.
Commercial fishing remains one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. However, the Jones Act and general maritime law still dictate that seamen are entitled to a safe place to work and a seaworthy vessel. Fishers should be protected on the job. They shouldn't suffer injury for a negligent maritime employer or vessel owner. If you or a loved one was injured or even killed on a commercial fishing vessel, contact a Jones Act attorney at Mariner Law, PLLC. The firm represents fishing injury victims in Washington, Oregon, New York, Connecticut, Alaska, and nationwide. Call today for a free consultation with an offshore lawyer: (253) 600-2531. You may be entitled to compensation.
Source: Maritime Executive