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The St. Nicholas


Monday, March 4, 1985

90-Ft. Dragger Burns, Sinks
Crew Rescued
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; it’s the 38th local boat to sink in the 1980’s.

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 investigators.

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 didn’t 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.)


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