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Sinking Report blames open lazarette hatch

The United States Coast Guard has now released their comprehensive report into the sinking of the scallop fishing vessel LADY MARY. Only one of seven crewmen survived the March 24, 2009 sinking. The conclusion is that a combination of safety problems contributed to the vessel’s sinking and the crewmen’s deaths.

The Coast Guard determined that sometime in the early morning hours the crew of the LADY MARY removed the lazarette hatch to utilize an electric pump to dewater the lazarette compartment located in the stern of the vessel. Underwater photographs of the sunken vessel showed the lazarette hatch open with a dewatering hose coming out of the transom and discharging over the transom. With the pump in use the lazarette hatch could not be closed.

The Coast Guard concluded that it was probable the LADY MARY’s lazarette flooded through the open hatch, which then allowed water to board the vessel over the transom.

Two of the LADY MARY’s four deck scuppers were improperly blocked with metal plates. The blocking of the scuppers allowed waves coming aboard the vessel to be trapped between the deck’s bulkworks. The combination of these factors, according to the Coast Guard, led to progressive down flooding of the vessel and loss of stability.

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