By Andrea Holbrook
---- — A Gloucester-based scalloper missing since mid-December has been found in pieces submerged on the ocean’s floor between Cape Ann and Provincetown.
Coast Guard Sector Boston confirmed the discovery of the submerged wreckage of the 45-foot Foxy Lady II on yesterday about 11 a.m. A spokesman said pieces of the vessel were scattered on the sea floor between Cape Ann and Provincetown, an area the Coast Guard had searched for several days when the boat was reported overdue Dec. 17.
The spokesman had no information on the vessel’s crew, Wallace “Chubby” Gray Jr., 26, and Wayne Young, 50, both of Deer Isle, Maine. Gray served as the boat’s captain and has a large extended family in Gloucester; he and Young are presumed lost at sea.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the state Marine Environmental Police received multiple reports of fishing vessels becoming entangled on an underwater obstruction while trawling in areas between Provincetown and Cape Ann.
Coast Guard investigators, along with assistance and equipment from Massachusetts Marine Environmental Police, began to assess the seabed. With the use of a remotely operated underwater vehicle and camera, the vessel was located and confirmed to be the Foxy Lady II.
The spokesman said it would be up to the vessel’s owner to salvage the wreckage or not.
The Coast Guard was notified the morning of Dec. 17 by the captain’s girlfriend that the fishing vessel had not returned as planned the night of Dec. 15, and the last time she had spoken with him was Dec. 15 between 6 a.m. and noon via text messages. The Foxy Lady II crew had departed Gloucester that morning.
The Foxy Lady II’s EPIRB — or emergency position-indicating radio beacon, which is designed to begin transmitting when it hits the water — did not activate, according to the Coast Guard. The VMS — or vessel monitoring system — which periodically emits radio signals to the Coast Guard for search and rescue and regulatory oversight was last positioned 15 miles north of Provincetown the night of Dec. 15.
A rescue pod identified as being from the Foxy Lady II was found in a Saugus marsh Dec. 18 around the same time the Coast Guard was calling off the search for the vessel. The pod, however, did not appear to have ever been opened. No other items verified from the Foxy Lady II had been recovered.
The Coast Guard resumed the search by boat and helicopter after the pod’s discovery, which covered 2,800 miles before it was finally suspended Dec. 19.
A vigil for Wallace and Young was held at the Fishermen’s Memorial on Dec. 26. Young and Gray are the seventh and eighth fishermen who have gone “down to the sea in ships” over the past four years, beginning with the January 2009 sinking of the fishing vessel Patriot.
The Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association, headed by Angela Sanfillipo, has established a memorial fund for the families of the crew of the Foxy Lady II through BankGloucester. Donations may be made to the Foxy Lady II Fund, care of BankGloucester, 160 Main St., Gloucester MA 10930.
Coast Guard Sector Boston investigators are working closely with state and local agencies to further investigate the area and will thoroughly assess the findings as a part of the incident investigation.
Staff writer Andrea Holbrook may be contacted at 978-283-7000 ext. 3456 or firstname.lastname@example.org.