Lobster boat holes tanker in open-sea collision off Martha’s Vineyard

A lobster boat and a loaded tanker collided in open water south of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and the Coast Guard is trying to piece together what happened.

The 70-foot Edna May and the 605-foot Iver Prosperity collided at about 2010 on Jan. 27 roughly 25 nautical miles south of the island. No one on either vessel was injured and there was no pollution as a result of the impact. Damage was relatively minor given the nature of the incident, said Coast Guard spokesman Ryan Noel.

“All the parties involved got extremely lucky that nobody was injured and nobody took on water,” Noel said. “They are lucky that nothing worse came from this.”

The Coast Guard is investigating and has not released the cause. Key aspects of the incident, such as which vessel hit which and whether the crews communicated via radio before impact, are part of the inquiry.

Noel said Edna May’s bow had “a large dent” and additional cosmetic damage. Inspectors found two holes roughly 2 feet in diameter, about four feet above the waterline, on Iver Prosperity’s starboard quarter.

Iver Prosperity is a 13-year-old tanker managed by Vroon subsidiary Iver Ships B.V. of the Netherlands. A Vroon spokesman confirmed that the collision occurred but did not provide additional details about the incident.

“Fortunately, no one got injured and no pollution occurred. Both vessels suffered minor damage and were able to return to port without assistance,” said Christopher Savoye, legal counsel and spokesman for Vroon. “The cause of the collision and consequent liability is still under investigation.”

The collision happened after dark as the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, loaded with gasoline, approached its destination in Providence, R.I. The ship’s last port call was in Saint John, New Brunswick. Edna May’s home port is Tiverton, R.I. Its destination on the evening of the collision is not known.

Weather conditions when the incident occurred were typical for the time of year. Winds came from the northwest at 17 knots and seas approached 5 feet. The air temperature was 42 degrees and visibility was unknown, Noel said. Weather records do not show precipitation on Jan. 26 on Martha’s Vineyard.

The Coast Guard learned of the incident almost immediately, Noel said. In response, the service dispatched a boat crew from Station Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard and air crews from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod.

The Station Menemsha boat crew escorted Edna May closer to its home port, Noel said. “They were met (en route) by the Coast Guard cutter Coho, which gave them relief and escorted the fishing vessel back to its home port,” he said.

Iver Prosperity remained at anchor south of Newport, R.I., for almost a week after the collision before continuing to Providence. It wasn’t clear if the incident or other factors delayed its arrival. Attempts to identify the owner of Edna May were not successful.

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