February 19, 1952
Another Dragger Lost
Seven Men Stranded on Roseway, Near Shelburne
Mary F. Curtis Piled Up During Blinding Snowstorm Sunday Night
and Is Total Loss
Seven Gloucester fishermen are reported to be stranded on Roseway Island, near
Shelburne, N. S., since Sunday night, when in a blinding snowstorm, their 49-year-old
101-foot Gloucester auxiliary fishing dragger Mary F. Curtis ran
hard aground on the island and became a total loss, the latter being estimated at $60,000.
Capt. Philip Giamanco, 54, of this city, was still seeking transportation
to the mainland today, so as to return home. The loss was partially covered by insurance.
The Mary F. Curtis left here at 2 oclock last Saturday
afternoon bound for a trip of ocean perch along the Cape Shore region off Nova Scotia. She
ran into the storm last Sunday and Capt. Giamanco decided to make for
harbor at Shelburne and in the increasing fury of the storm grounded on the island. The
seven men succeeded in getting shore. Details of their rescue were not available at noon.
First report of the vessels loss was received here yesterday afternoon by Mrs. Philip
Giamanco, co-owner of the craft with Mrs. Rose Frontiero of
Commercial street. Mrs. Giamanco received a telephone call from a Mr. Cheakston,
agent of the Canadian Department of Transportation at Dartmouth, N. S. who advised her to
contact the U. S. Coast Guard to take the men off the island. The men were being housed at
the lighthouse on the Island from what could be learned.
In the crew were Capt. Giamanco; William Frank Ashburne,
57, engineer; Harold M. Wagsatt, 54, cook; William F. Enos,
32; Michael A. Favazza, 34; Robert Goodick, 32; and James
Harris, Jr. of Gloucester.
Mrs. Giamanco telephoned to the Coast Guard headquarters at Boston
where she was advised that since the men were safe and were outside of the United States,
the task of attending to them was out of the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard and they
advised her to contact the Canadian authorities to perform the mission. Mrs. Giamanco
sought the aid of Lawrence J. Hart, manager of Gloucester
Chamber of Commerce.
The Mary F. Curtis was launched at Essex in 1903 as a dory
trawler for Gloucester parties. She spent her summers mackerel seining out of Gloucester,
and for many years Capt. Dave Keating of this port was the skipper, while
she was owned by Gorton-Pew Fisheries Co. Ltd. The latter firm sold the craft in 1939 to
her present owners who had the boat converted into a dragger. Capt. Giamanco
has been the skipper since then and went seining during the summer months, and dragging
for ocean perch the rest of the year.
Mrs. Giamanco reported at noon that she had just received a telephone
call from Capt. Giamanco at 11.40 oclock this noon from Shelburne.
The skipper said that he and his men were brought to the mainland in a lobster boat. He
told her that the craft went ashore at 9.30 Sunday night, during the blinding snowstorm
with a gale of some 50 to 60 miles an hour. The dragger was "smashed to
smithereens" as he expressed it. He and his crew were barely able to escape with
their lives, having to jump into the seas and wade a short distance to shore to save
themselves. They lost all their possessions with the vessel. Capt. Giamanco
reported that all the men were well, however, and had been cared for by the lighthouse
keeper at Roseway Island. He said they would try to secure clearance so they can return
home within a couple of days.
Manager Hart of the Chamber of Commerce talked by telephone this
forenoon with Cabot Coville, United States Consul General at Halifax, N. S., who assured
Mr. Hart that a cutter from the Royal Canadian Air Force was proceeding
to Roseway to remove the skipper and crew to Shelburne where the ill-fated draggers
owners could forward funds for passage home for the men.
[Later is was learned that the schooner hit a shoal about two hundred yards from shore
and her crew were forced to take to a dory. Their boat capsized about thirty
years from shore and the men had to swim through raging, bitterly cold seas to reach the
beach. After landing on shore, they had to walk three miles through brush, woods and
swamps to get to one of the few buildings on the island. There they were cared for
by the lightkeeper.]
[The Mary F. Curtis was used in the filming of the movie Captains
Courageous in October of 1935. Commanded by Capt. Donald McCuish,
she carried the cameras, film and other equipment. The Curtis,
in company with the schooner Imperator, sailed from Gloucester
October 17 for Newfoundland waters, where scenes for the movie were filmed. They
returned to Gloucester November 22, 1935. About 38,000 feet of film were shot on the