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NTSB Releases Photos of Fishing Vessel That Disappeared off Cape Cod

Emmy Rose
Courtesy NTSB

Published Nov 10, 2021 9:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released new images of the lost fishing vessel Emmy Rose, the trawler that disappeared with all hands off the coast of Cape Cod in November 2020. 

Emmy Rose (Boat Aaron and Melissa Inc.)

The Emmy Rose was returning from a seven-day fishing voyage when she went down in the early hours of Nov. 23, 2020. There were no distress calls prior to the sinking, and when the vessel failed to return, the U.S. Coast Guard launched a wide-scale search. After covering an area of more than 2,200 square miles over a 38-hour period, the SAR team found only a debris field with a diesel fuel odor, the vessel’s emergency position indicating radio beacon and an empty life raft. None of the four crewmembers - skipper Robert Blethen Jr., Jeffrey Matthews, Ethan Ward and Michael Porper - were ever found.

Courtesy NTSB

The USCG and NTSB launched an investigation into the vessel's disappearance. In May, working with sonar company MIND Technology, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they found the Emmy Rose with side-scan sonar. The 82-foot vessel was located in an upright position with its outriggers deployed in about 800 feet of water, about 25 miles off the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts.

In September 2021, investigators partnered with the National Science Foundation and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to survey the sunken vessel using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) aboard the Coast Guard cutter Sycamore. The survey yielded new videos and high-resolution photos that will be used to help investigators determine the cause of the sinking.