Monday, March 4, 1985
90-Ft. Dragger Burns, Sinks
The 90-foot dragger St. Nicholas Burned and Sank
Saturday Afternoon About 100 Miles East of Gloucester.
Five St. Nicholas crewmen were rescued form a life raft by
the Gloucester dragger Maria and Al after spending 15 or 20
minutes in a life raft. No injuries were reported, said Petty Officer Michael
Plunkett of the Harbor Loop Coast Guard Station. St. Nicholas,
a wooden, eastern-rigged dragger built in 1965, is the first Gloucester dragger to sink
this year; its the 38th local boat to sink in the 1980s.
St. Nicholas was well-known for ferrying Santa Claus -
another St. Nicholas - the annual holiday festivities at the Gloucester House restaurant
at Seven Seas Wharf. Rescued Saturday were skipper Nicholas Parisi of
Macomber Road, Salvatore Loiacano, Joe Salafia, Joe Randazza and Tom
Cavanaugh, according to the Coast Guard.
Plunkett said Parisi reported smelling smoke while the boat was towing
its nets, with about 8.000 pounds of fish already aboard. Parisi said the
smoke was coming from the engine room, according to Plunkett. "When
he came to the ladder (to the engine room ), he smelled a lot of smoke," said Plunkett,
who was present as Parisi and his crew were interviewed by Coast Guard
Parisi could not be reached for comment this morning. Alfonse
Millefoglie, owner and skipper of the Maria and Al,
also could not be reached for comment. Plunkett said Parisi
told investigators he and his crew tried to fight the fire with fire extinguishers. When
that didnt work, they abandoned the ship and got into a 15-man rubber life raft.
Plunkett said Parisi, before abandoning ship, was
able to radio the nearby Maria and Al for help. Visibility was
poor, so the St. Nicholas crew stayed near the burning boat for
about 15 minutes, until Maria and Al arrived. Once aboard Maria
and Al, they stood by the burning boat for about two hours, while it went
bow-up, then sank
The St. Nicholas crew arrived at the Harbor Loop station at
about 3.15 a.m. Sunday.
[Two other fishing boats sank this weekend: Christina J. from
New Bedford and Coastal I from Portland. Four crewmen on the Christina
J. survived more than two days at sea in a liferaft after their boat sank
last Thursday night. They were rescued yesterday by a tugboat, having survived unprotected
with only five bags of cookies to eat. Coastal One sank Friday
evening about 60 miles east of Portland.)