Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lost At Sea

"Is this the Miss Ally?"
"Yes, this is the Miss Ally"
"OK, good. If you are asking about the Coast Guard ship, Sir William Alexander, they are about 50 miles away."
"OK. Everything seems to be OK, as good as they can be ... the wind has changed direction, making it much harder to make any headway at all. I don't know if there is anything you can help me out with there ..."
"You steer whatever course you need to steer to keep her upright."
Katlin Nickerson, captain of the Miss Ally, communicating with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre, Halifax

The Navy has ended its search of the Miss Ally.
The Navy has ended its search of the Miss Ally. (RCMP) Feb.23,2013

"Miss Ally has missed his [communication] schedule by over 15 minutes. He was advised o call us every hour to inform us that all as well onboard and if we did not receive his call we would be very concerned that something went terribly wrong."
Joint Rescue logbook note, Halifax Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre

When the Miss Ally, a 3.5-metre fishing boat left the wharf at West Head on Cape Sable Island, she had aboard captain Katlin Nickerson, Billy Jack Hatfield, Steven Cole Nickerson, Tyson Townsend and Joel Hopkins. They knew one another well, since they grew up together as lads around Woods Harbour. Where the sea and fishing is their life. They set out in fair weather on February 12, 2013. At that time of year weather can get dicey.

It took but a few days to realize that they were gone, their boat capsized. And they were forever lost. Their bodies were never found. Their families are left with memories of their sons. "I know that most of us, the mothers, we sit there trying to listen for our sons in the background. We want to hear something. We want to hear their voices, but ..." A recording of the conversation between Katlin Nickerson and the Halifax Rescue Centre was played for them.

"I heard his voice", Katlin's mother said. She had spoken with her son on the boat's satellite phone. The connection was lost, but she had spoken with her son, and he sounded calm. "He wasn't afraid. At that time I don't think any of them were afraid. I believe they thought they were going to get in." But they did not, and the families are now mourning a full year without their beloved sons.

"Fishing is dangerous. And the boats still go out. The men around here, the men who stay, they fish", said Mary Hopkins.

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