The Point Judith, R.I., trawler Mistress, which sank in foul weather on New Year’s Day morning and triggered a large Coast Guard search for two of its crew, has been located, according to Richard Fuka, Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance president.
Fuka said he’s been in regular contact with Michael Ansay, uncle of John Ansay, who along with the Mistress’s owner, Oscar Diaz, went missing when the trawler sank; both are presumed not to have survived. Diaz’s son, Tim, was the only member of the Mistress crew to be rescued. Ansay has been hunting for the Mistress aboard a specialized vessel capable of employing towed and autonomous deepwater detection equipment, Fuka said. The families of the missing fishermen and the Coast Guard have been apprised of the discovery, he said.
Fuka debunked rumors the Mistress drifted along the sea bottom into a nearby wind farm. He described its location as in the middle of the search area, and “well to the east of the windmills.”
The trawler wasn’t located in real time, he said, but pinpointed after search-ship data was later analyzed. He did not convey its coordinates, but said it’s likely an autonomous underwater vehicle will be used to investigate the wreck and plot safe routes for members of the Rhode Island State Police dive team.
Though the sinking was outside its coverage area, Station Menemsha participated in the 2,152-square-mile, three-day search because of the heavy weather training its crews undergo.
As of Monday afternoon, The Times awaited confirmation from the Coast Guard that it has been notified of the discovery.