There are few (if any) occupations as dangerous as commercial fishing. New Bedford, the richest fishing and perhaps most historic port in the nation knows that all too well. Too many of New Bedford's sons have gone to sea in ships, never to return. With Christmas less than three weeks away we pray that two more, now missing, will be found.

Four men were aboard the 69 foot New Bedford-based clammer 'Misty Blue' when it went down off Nantucket Island last night. Two were quickly rescued by a passing fishing vessel while two others, as of this writing, are still missing. The Coast Guard has been searching the frigid ocean for signs of the men since shortly after a distress call was received after six last night. It's not clear if the men were able to don their survival suits before being cast into the icy waters.

The Misty Blue is owned by Atlantic Cape Fisheries, Inc. out of Cape May, New Jersey but operated out of New Bedford.

This is not the first time the New Bedford fleet has suffered a tragic loss during the Holiday Season. 13 years ago the 13 foot scalloper 'Northern Edge' went down just five days before Christmas. Five men were lost. 13 fishermen died when the scalloper 'Navigator' was lost on November 30, 1977.

Commercial fishing is a dangerous and often thankless job. With crippling government restrictions and shrinking paychecks, it's a wonder how anyone still answers the call of the sea.

Between candy cane lattes and holiday shopping, please take a moment and pray for the crew of the 'Misty Blue' and family and friends here on shore agonizing over their loved ones, who for the moment remain lost at sea.

Let's pray for a 'Misty Blue' Christmas miracle.

The Fishermen's Tribute Fund was successful is raising funds to construct a memorial to all men and women - past, present and future - within the fishing industry, especially those who have lost their lives in pursuit of their profession. The memorial stands on the New Bedford Waterfront between City Pier and State Pier. The placement of flowers and candles at the memorial would be a way of showing the families of the missing crew members that you are thinking of them.


Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Material from the Cape Cod Times, South Coast Today, The Associated Press and the WBSM Newsroom was used n this report.

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