M/V Patriot - USCG Final Action Report


USCG Final Action on M/V Patriot incident report now online (LINK)

Overview: Sometime between 01:17 and 01:30 a.m. (EST) on January 3" , 2009 the fishing
vessel PATRIOT. a 54-foot commercial fishing vessel with two persons on board, sank
approximately 14 nautical miles southeast of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Coast Guard Search
and Rescue (SAR) resources from Station Gloucester, Station Point Allerton, Sector Boston, Air
Station Cape Cod, and First District responded. The search effort located a debris field and the
deceased crewmembers within the assigned search area. Neither crewmember was found to be
wearing survival gear or flotation gear. The death certificates issued by the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts Medical Examiner’s Office indicate that the victims’ deaths were due to drowning
within seconds vice death by exposure.
No traditional distress signal was received from the PA TRJOT before the vessel sank, or prior to
the launch of Coast Guard assets. This case was initiated by a call from the co-owner of the
PATRJOT, Mrs. Josie Russo, at 01 :35 a.m. (EST), January 3"’, 2009, to Station Gloucester, after
she was notified that a fire alarm installed on the vessel had remotely signaled a monitoring
company ashore (Wayne Alarm Systems). Situational ambiguity regarding the condition and
location of the vessel made it particularly difficult to process the SAR case. The Coast Guard’s
response in launching SAR assets was delayed due to poor collection and analysis of
information, and decision making regarding the vessel 's status. After 2 hours and 23 minutes of
fact finding and analysis of information by the Station, Sector and District watchstanders to
ascertain the nature of the distress and a possible location of the PA TRJOT, Coast Guard SAR
assets were ordered launched.
The cause of the sudden loss of the PATRIOT is being studied and assessed against existing
commercial vessel safety regulatory requirements in a separate Coast Guard marine casualty
investigation. This separate process is in accordance with 46 C.F.R., Part 4 - Marine Casualties
and Investigations.
Shortly after the incident, the First Coast Guard District commenced a SAR case study to
evaluate the SAR response and obtain and document lessons learned. Upon review of the
working copy of the case study. and recognizing that the level of involvement by the First
District Command Center was grealer than originally thought, I determined a more
comprehensive investigation was required to fully evaluate the SAR response to the incident.
Therefore, I ordered for an independent, third-party, investigator from outside of the First
District to complete a standard investigation. The information contained in the working copy of
the First District SAR case study has been incorporated into the investigation, providing the
Coast Guard with a broader look at our response to the case. While the SAR case study was not
finalized, and would therefore not normally be releasable, it is included as enclosure (2) to
ensure transparency in light of the extraordinary circumstances of this case and the prior publ ic
announcements about the case study.
This document; (a) sets forth the facts that led to Coast Guard response efforts in this incident,
(b) states my conclusions, and © orders certain actions be taken that are designed to ensure that
the inefficiencies and missteps that occurred during this case are not repeated and that the lessons
we have learned are appropriately addressed to improve the manner in which all units within the
Atlantic Area prosecute future search and rescue cases…

Read the full report HERE.


After thirty four years at sea, thirty three of them in commercial fishing, there are too many lives that have touched me that have been lost at sea. The wife of the captain of the Patriot lost not only her husband that day but her father as well. He was the other crewman. RIP “THEY THAT GO DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS” Thank you John