Marine Accident Brief: Sinking of the U.S. Fishing Vessel Miss Penelope, South of Montauk, New York, January 28, 1998

On January 28, 1998, the U.S. fishing vessel Miss Penelope was riding out heavy weather in the Atlantic Ocean, south of Montauk, New York, by drifting with the wind and seas. Prior to the accident, the vessel was prepared for heavy weather and no problems were reported. About 1300, the vessel took heavy seas on the starboard side and heeled over very hard to port. The after deck did not immediately recover from the roll to port, and the Miss Penelope began to sink by the stern. The master warned the mate and the deckhands that the vessel was sinking and then started the vessel's main engine. The master maneuvered the vessel into the wind in an attempt to clear water from the after deck. The crew donned their survival suits, launched the vessel's inflatable life raft, and activated three emergency position indicating radio beacons. The master radioed a report of the vessel's position to the nearest U.S. Coast Guard station and notified them that the vessel would sink within 10 minutes. The crew abandoned ship shortly before the Miss Penelope capsized. The master, mate, and one of the deckhands boarded the life raft. The second deckhand, however, did not make it to the life raft and soon drifted out of sight of the other crewmembers. Heavy seas buffeted the life raft and the sea toppled it over 8 or 9 times. Each time that the sea turned the raft over, the crewmembers righted it and boarded it again. Coast Guard rescue helicopters pulled the crew from the life boat and water. Three crew members were injured; one fatality resulted. Property damage was estimated at $500,000. The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the sinking of the commercial fishing vessel Miss Penelope was flooding resulting from an unknown origin while the vessel drifted in heavy seas


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01003091
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NTSB/MAB-01-02
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 16 2005 10:43AM