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The New St. Joseph


Friday, October 6, 1919

Italian Craft Piled On Rocks
Steamer New St. Joseph and Crew of Five Had Narrow Escape
From Destruction When Craft Drifted on Breakwater

The Italian steamer New St. Joseph, one of the fleet of small crafts that tie up at the Fort had a narrow escape from destruction and the loss of all hands shortly before 1 o’clock this morning, when the steamer seine boat and seine drifted on the jagged rocks on Dog Bar breakwater, just outside the harbor. The steamer later floated and with the assistance of the Mary Christiana was towed in here to the Gloucester Fresh Fish Company’s wharf.

The craft is commanded by Capt. M. Linguata and his crew consisted of Ralph Cappuccio of Boston, better known and "Capt. Joe", Sam Charmaco, Lawrence Scola, and M. Palazlo. A little before midnight, the New St. Joseph which had been lying inside the breakwater, got underway and steamed outside, in search of herring, which have been schooling in that vicinity for several days.

After cruising back and forth for about an half hour, the lookout sighted fish ahead. A set was made, and some 75 barrels of fish it is estimated, were caught in the seine. Evidently the crew had not calculated on their position, for they set within less than a quarter of a mile of the end of the breakwater. The seine boat and seine commenced to drift rapidly inshore, sided by a strong current and fairly stiff breeze. The crew soon saw their predicament, but before they could prevent it, the seine boat crashed on the rocks, carrying seine and the big school of fish, and a few seconds later, the steamer itself, piled on, stern to.

Those on board commenced to shout loudly for help. For a time it seemed as though they were doomed, for they had no dory and no one seemed to take notice of their outcries. Cappuccio says they hailed another Italian steamer, but the reply came back that they would render assistance after they had finished baiting fish.

Officer Tuck, mounted police officer on duty at Eastern Point, hard the outcries of the men, but was unable to locate the source, as the craft was far down on the end of the breakwater. In the meanwhile, the crew of the New St. Joseph who were in danger every moment of being swept overboard, managed with the assistance of large oars to work the steamer off. The rudder was badly damaged, but fortunately the propeller was intact and they steamed to a sloop some distance away, and procured a small dory and returned to where the seine boat and seine lay on the rocks. A rope was attached to the stranded craft and after working some time, they managed to haul her off and secure the seine.

The Mary Christina, Capt. Joe Phielto later came along and towed the New St. Joseph, seine boat and seine in here. The seine boat had a large hole punctured in her bottom and was full of water. Not only this, the crew lost their night’s work, saving less that a bushel of herring out of the school. The steamer itself escaped with little injury, except to her rudder which was badly twisted.


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