Fisherman missing near Nomans Land

Major Coast Guard search underway.

A station Menemsha motor lifeboat has been part of the search for a missing fisherman thought lost near Nomans Land. - Rich Saltzberg

A deckhand from the FV Susan Rose went missing early Friday morning as the vessel was passing near Nomans Land en route to New Bedford. The Coast Guard received a call about the missing fisherman at 1:39 am, according to Petty Officer Ryan Noel, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard’s First District. Noel said the missing person is 54 years old, and was last seen aboard the Susan Rose around midnight. When crew couldn’t find that person, they notified the Coast Guard. 

The search began early this morning, with a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Menemsha and a Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod. They were joined by searchers from the Buzzards Bay Task Force, Noel said. While he couldn’t say what type of assets those were, Lt. Brandon Newman, also a Coast Guard spokesman, said task force members are from the New Bedford Fire and Police Departments. 

Between approximately 8:30 am and 9:30 am, the cutter Sanibel and a Coast Guard Ocean Sentry fixed wing aircraft joined the search, Noel said. In addition, CG cutter Sturgeon — the newest addition to the USCG Bay class cutters, typically used for icebreaking and port, water, and coastal security — came down from Boston to assist in the search, USCG Southeast New England sector Lt. Jeremy Silva told the Times. 

The Susan Rose was described by Noel as a 77-foot stern trawler, with a homeport of Point Judith, R.I. Lt. Newman was unable to specify why the Susan Rose was headed to New Bedford, but did say it was common for vessels with home ports other than New Bedford to offload catches there. Chilmark Fire Chief Jeremy Bradshaw told The Times he received a call at about 4:50 am, and proceeded to search Squibnocket Beach and its vicinity with an ATV. For areas not reachable by ATV, Bradshaw said he instructed firefighter John Mayhew to scan the area with a drone. They didn’t turn up anything, Chief Bradshaw said. 

Aquinnah Fire Chief Simon Bollin said the Coast Guard had swept the area with an infrared scanner Friday morning. He said his department remains “in standby mode,” but has not been called out to search. However, he noted Aquinnah Police Officer Steven Matthais searched the shoreline on an ATV Friday morning. Matthias confirmed this. He added the search didn’t yield anything. 

At 11:45 am Friday, Rich Fuka, president of the Rhode Island Fishing Alliance, said the Susan Rose was unloading at NORPEL on Fish Island in New Bedford. He said the vessel had been squid fishing, and had been scheduled to unload at 2 am. Fuka said the Susan Rose is owned by Rhode Island seafood and fishing company the Town Dock. A representative of the Town Dock did not immediately respond to a voice message seeking comment.