Fisherman Charged with Murder After Attack Aboard Trawler

Franklin Freddy Meave Vazquez (Newport News Police Department)

By The Maritime Executive 2018-09-25 21:28:00

A crewmember of the fishing boat Captain Billy Haver stands accused of killing one of his crewmates and injuring another in an attack off the coast of New England. 

The crewmember, Franklin Freddy Meave Vazquez, 27, allegedly attacked three of his crewmates with a hammer and a knife while the Haver was under way about 50 nm off Nantucket. He then attempted to escape capture by climbing the ship's mast, according to prosecutors. 

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector Southeastern New England received a distress call from the vessel on Sunday afternoon. The cruise ship Mein Schiff 6 also heard the call, and she diverted to assist. The Mein Schiff took aboard two fishermen who were injured in the attack, including one who was pronounced dead on board. A passenger aboard the cruise ship told CBS News Boston that the surviving crewmember had a serious head injury. 

The Coast Guard cutter Legare diverted to meet the trawler, and it launched a law enforcement boarding team upon arrival. The cruise ship, the cutter and the trawler all headed for port at Boston Harbor.  

Prosecutors said that Vazquez, a Mexican national, is in the U.S. illegally. He was arrested on charges of abduction in Newport News in March, but was released in April after posting a bond. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement that it had recommended against his release.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachussetts has charged Vazquez with murder and attempted murder. If convicted, he could face a sentence of imprisonment for life; if released, he would be subject to deportation proceedings.