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HomeNewsArchivesFREIGHTER SINKS WHILE BEING TOWED TO TORTOLA

FREIGHTER SINKS WHILE BEING TOWED TO TORTOLA

Feb. 3, 2002 – The 105-foot island freighter that caught on fire Friday evening 14 miles southeast of St. Thomas, forcing its crew to abandon ship, sank off Norman Island Saturday night as it was being towed to Tortola.
Petty Officer First Class Jason Chapman of the U.S. Coast Guard Operational Center in San Juan said Sunday night that the M.V. Lorrine "sank in 26 fathoms of water as it was being towed to Tortola, three and a half nautical miles southeast of Norman Island."
He gave the coordinates of the site as 18 degrees 16 minutes north latitude and 64 degrees 33 minutes west longitude. Twenty-six fathoms is 156 feet; 3.5 nautical miles is a little over 4 land miles.
Chapman said the San Juan office was notified at 9:25 p.m. Saturday that the cargo vessel had sunk as it was being towed by a salvor, the M.S. Oliver. Lt. John Reinert of the Marine Safety Detachment Office on St. Thomas said on Sunday that the information he had received was "that the vessel sank at approximately 8:30 p.m."
The Lorrine, registered in Antigua and Barbuda, called regularly at the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Coast Guard reported on Saturday that the captain of the vessel said it had been en route to Tortola from St. Croix when the fire broke out in the engine room, and that the four crew members had abandoned ship in a life raft after the blaze spread out of control.
The four were picked up at sea unharmed Friday night by the luxury cruise ship Crystal Harmony, which transported them to St. Lucia, where it docked Saturday morning.

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