The Mayday Call: How One Death at Sea Transformed a Fishing Fleet

About 40 miles east-southeast of Barnegat Light, N.J., the Jersey Pride, a 116-foot fishing vessel with a distinctive royal blue hull, was towing a harvesting dredge through clam beds 20 fathoms down when its crew found a deckhand unresponsive in a bunk. The captain suspected an overdose. After trying to revive the man, he rushed to the radio. “Yes, Coast Guard, uh, I just tried to wake a guy up and he’s got black blood in his nose,” he said, sounding short of breath on Channel 16, “I got guys working on him. Come in.” About 17 miles to the Jersey Pride’s southeast, the fishing vessel Karen Nicole was hauling back its two scallop dredges and preparing to swing aboard its catch. Mate Hollis Nevells listened to the conversation crackling over a wheelhouse radio. Nevells had lost a brother-in-law and about 15 peers to fatal overdoses. When the Jersey Pride’s captain broadcast details of his imperiled deckhand. “His last name is Murphy,” he said. Nevells understood what he heard in human terms. That’s someone’s son or brother, he thought. more,>>CLICK TO READ<< 17:08

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