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The Ave Maria


Tuesday, April 12, 1955

Dragger Sinks; Men Safe

The 70-foot Gloucester fishing dragger Ave Maria sprung a leak about 9 o’clock this morning, 123 miles east by north of Eastern Point, Gloucester (off Jeffries Ledge.) She sank in a short space of time, according to Coast Guard report.

Owner Capt. Salvatore Curcuru, 37, 194 Washington street, and five crewmen were rescued by the 69-foot local dragger Star of the Sea, Capt. Ignacio Giamanco, 11 Angle street.

The Star of the Sea was expected to reach here sometime after midnight tonight with the rescued. The Ave Maria was valued at some $90,000 and was partially covered by insurance through the local agency of Carroll K. Steele.

The rescued crew all from this city include:

Capt. Salvatore Curcuru, 37, owner-master
Salvatore J. Scandalito, 29, mate
Frank C. Santuccio, 22, engineer
Samuel Asaro, 27, cook
Stephen Sinagra, 26
Joseph S. Curcuru, 27, a brother of the skipper

The Ave Maria, built at Stamford, Conn., in 1944, left here last Wednesday for a groundfishing trip off Jeffries.

Details of what happened early today were lacking at noon. The Coast Guard patrol boat General Greene, at the State Fish pier here, received word by radio that the Ave Maria was in a sinking condition at 9:15 this morning. The officer in charge immediately asked the Fire department to call in the alarm 9-4 to summon back all crew member ashore. At the time she did not realize how far off was the dragger.

The next call in a few minutes later to the patrol boat was that the Ave Maria had gone down, and that the skipper and all hands were safely aboard the rescue ship.

Capt. Curcuru telephoned his wife at 10:30 this forenoon from the Star of the Sea (formerly Yankee.) Mrs. Curcuru said he told her that the Ave Maria had sprung a leak, that the leak got ahead of them and they couldn’t handle it, but that fortunately the Star of the Sea was fishing nearby and came quickly to their rescue. He said they would be home shortly after midnight tonight.


Wednesday, April 13, 1955

Skipper Believes Ave Maria Struck Submerged Object

The ill-fated 70-foot Gloucester dragger Ave Maria struck a submerged object, her owner-skipper Capt. Salvatore Curcuru believes. The ten-year-old dragger, valued at $90,000, sank within two hours after starting to leak yesterday morning. Capt. Curcuru and his five man crew arrived home at 11:30 last might, brought here by the rescue ship, the 69-foot dragger Star of the Sea.

The Star of the Sea, formerly the local dragger Yankee, docked at North Atlantic Fish Co. wharf, off Commercial street at 11:30 last night with the survivors of the Ave Maria. Families of the rescued men were waiting to take them home by car.

Capt. Curcuru, in talking to a reporter this morning, said they left port a week ago last night, and started towing the following morning.

"Yesterday morning," he said, "we began towing early. We were after redfish (ocean perch) and already had about 60,000 pounds aboard. We were going to stay fishing so as to make the Friday market in Gloucester.

"I was in the wheelhouse. The rest of the gang were below forward, some having a mug-up, the others taking it easy until I gave the order to haul in the net. Suddenly the whole boat gave one big tremble. I believe she must have hit a submerged object by the wheel. Something came loose. I don’t know if it was the stern post or what. But she started to leak bad. We hauled back and started the auxiliary pumps. We got the pumps going and tried out best to stay with it. It was about 7:40 yesterday morning when it happened.

"It got worse all the time. We just couldn’t keep up with the leak. I could see the dragger Star of the Sea fishing about two or three miles away. Capt. Giamanco was towing also.

"About 9 o’clock I telephoned to the Star of the Sea and told them we would have to abandon the boat. I called the Coast Guard to let them know what was happening and I also told them the Star of the Sea was nearby.

"We jumped into the lifeboat. It could hold nine men. At the time. It was fairly calm. There was time to grab a few of their things but the crew lost most of their belongings. We were in the lifeboat only a few minutes when the Star of the Sea reached us and took us all aboard. The Ave Maria sank about 9:30."

He said they were fishing east of Cashes 120 miles due east from Eastern Point, Gloucester. On the way in, as we towed the lifeboat, it must have filled for she sank and parted the towline.

Capt. Curcuru said he had the Ave Maria built in Stanford, Conn. ten years ago. Previous to that he had commanded the local draggers Marietta and Mary, and the Philip and Grace. The Ave Maria was the first one he owned.


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