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The Nina


Thursday, April 22, 1952

Rescue Five Fishermen as Dragger Nina Burns, Sinks N.E. of Thacher’s

Fire Broke Out in Engine Room –
Salvatore and Rose Picks Up Men in Dories –
No Injuries

Five Gloucester fishermen were forced to flee from their flaming auxiliary fishing dragger, the 61-foot Nina, when the latter craft suddenly caught fire in the engine room, about 8.30 o’clock last night, seven miles northeast of Thacher’s Island buoy. They were rescued from their two dories, 40 minutes later, by the Gloucester auxiliary fishing dragger, Salvatore and Grace, which landed the men at Davis Bros. Fisheries Co, Wharf, Rogers Street, here at 11.30 o’clock last night. Despite efforts of Coast Guardsmen aboard the patrol boat General Greene of this port to save her, the dragger Nina still burning, sank in 50 fathoms of water at 12.10 o’clock this morning. It was the third vessel loss for the owner-master, Capt. Philip "Scotty" Parisi, 41 years, in the past six years. The Nina was insured for $25,000 through the Elwell Insurance Agency of this city. Loss is estimated at $30,000.

The five rescued men include Capt. Parisi, owner-master and engineer; John Randazza, 20 years, cook; Karl E. Johnson, Jr., 23 years; Anthony Loiacano, 17 years; and Rosario Grillo, 18 years. The latter’s father, Ralph Grillo, was a regular crew member but had stayed ashore this trip because of an injured hand.

It was only eight months ago, Tuesday afternoon, August 28, 1951, that Capt. Parisi’s former dragger, the Nancy F., a 69-foot craft, caught fire while they were fishing 22 miles northeast of Provincetown about 1.30 o’clock in the afternoon and sank 4 hours later despite efforts to save her. Member of that crew of five was also John Randazza who again with Capt. Parisi was saved last night from the Nina. In the instance of the ill-fated Nancy F., it was the Boston dragger Diana C. which rescued the men from their dories into which they were forced by fire within 15 minutes of an explosion that caused the fire.

Capt. Parisi’s other loss was the 75-foot auxiliary fishing dragger St. Paul, new in 1944, when eight months later on November 29, 1945 while the craft was berthed at Fort wharf, this city, a howling northeast blizzard tore her loose from her dock lines, and sent her bowling out across the harbor to smash onto the shore at Dolliver’s Neck, a hopeless wreck. The craft was valued at $75,000.

Capt. Parisi bought the dragger June Bride from New Bedford parties, January 2nd of this year, a boat that was built at Fernandes, Fla., in 1933. The skipper didn’t like the name so he re-named her the Nina in honor of his 14-year-old daughter Antonina.

They had been fishing in her since that time, and in fact landed a small trip here last Saturday. Capt. Parisi said that last evening they were all on deck hauling back the net when all of a sudden, they saw a sheet of flame belch out from the engine room through the adjacent pilot house. Capt. Parisi was unable to say what the cause was, it happened so quickly. He grabbed a fire extinguisher and exhausted it’s contents on the flame. The men worked feverishly in an effort to down the flames, but the latter proved too much for them. A half hour later when the cause showed itself hopeless. Capt. Parisi ordered the men into the dories they had aboard.

One of the dories cracked forward when put into the water, and sprung a leak in the bow section. Randazza and Loiacano nevertheless got into the after section of the dory to lift its bow up out of the water, while the other three got into the second dory. They were armed with flashlights, the only belongings they could save, and sent the flashlight beams in order to attract attention from neighboring fishing boats.

Capt. Parisi had the two dories stay near the burning craft, realizing that the fire would bring help to them. They were in the dories about 40 minutes when along came the Gloucester dragger Salvatore and Grace with Capt. Sebastiano Aiello in command. Capt. Aiello and his men took the five men aboard and brought them of Gloucester.

Capt. Aiello said that when he saw the flames in the distance, he at first thought it was a fire ashore but as they got in closer they noticed that the flames seemed to be moving. The skipper and crew knew then that the fire had to be of a boat and they lost no time in getting to the scene. They picked out the crew-filled dories by the signaling of the flashlights.

The Coast Guard patrol boat Gen. Greene in command of Chief Boatswain Aksel F. Jorgensen, USCG, left here shortly after 9 o’clock last night on a call from Coast Guard division headquarters at Boston, and made an effort to salvage the stricken dragger. They were informed that the crew had been saved. They reached the boat about 10.30 o’clock, lashed alongside her, and boarded the burning craft. On their arrival, the whole afterend of the boat was gutted out. The fuel tanks had burst from the excessive heat, and oil was burning on the boat, sending up a great flame. They fought the blaze with foamite but the fire had had too much headway. Two large holes had been burned through the boat above the waterline in the stern. The seas were pouring into the craft.

For 90 minutes, the Coast Guardsmen worked valiantly in their attempts to save the boat but it was of no use, and at 12.10 this morning, the vessel still afire, sank in 50 fathoms of water.


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