Andrea Gail was a 72-foot (22 m) commercial fishing vessel constructed in Panama City, Florida, in 1978, and owned by Robert Brown. Her home port was Marblehead, Massachusetts. She also sailed from Gloucester, Massachusetts, where she would offload her catch and reload food and stores for her next run.
Lost at sea
Andrea Gail began her final voyage departing from Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts, on September 20, 1991, bound for the Grand Banks of Newfoundland off the coast of eastern Canada. After poor fishing, Captain Frank W. "Billy" Tyne Jr. headed east to the Flemish Cap, where he believed they would have better luck. Despite weather reports warning of dangerous conditions, Tyne set course for home on October 26–27. The ship´s ice machine was malfunctioning and would not have been able to maintain the catch for much longer.
The last reported transmission from Andrea Gail was at about 6:00 p.m. on October 28, 1991. Tyne radioed Linda Greenlaw, captain of the Hannah Boden, owned by the same company, and gave his coordinates as
44°00′N 56°40′W / 44.000°N 56.667°W / 44.000; -56.667, or about 162 mi (261 km) east of Sable Island. He also gave a weather report indicating 30-foot (9.1 m) seas and wind gusts up to 80 knots (150 km/h; 92 mph). Tyne´s final recorded words were "She´s comin´ on, boys, and she´s comin´ on strong." Junger reported that the storm created waves in excess of 100 ft (30 m) in height, but ocean buoy monitors recorded a peak wave height of 39 ft (12 m), and so waves of 100 ft were deemed "unlikely" by Science Daily. However, data from a series of weather buoys in the general vicinity of the vessel´s last known location recorded peak wave action exceeding 60 ft (18 m) in height from October 28 through 30, 1991.
On October 30, 1991, the vessel was reported overdue. An extensive air and land search was launched by the 106th Rescue Wing from the New York Air National Guard, United States Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard forces. The search would eventually cover over 186,000 square nautical miles (640,000 km2).
On November 6, 1991, Andrea Gail´s emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) was discovered washed up on the shore of Sable Island in Nova Scotia. The EPIRB was designed to automatically send out a distress signal upon contact with sea water, but the Canadian Coast Guard personnel who found the beacon "did not conclusively verify whether the control switch was in the on or off position". Authorities called off the search for the missing vessel on November 9, 1991, due to the low probability of crew survival.
Fuel drums, a fuel tank, the EPIRB, an empty life raft, and some other flotsam were the only wreckage found. The ship was presumed lost at sea somewhere along the continental shelf near Sable Island.
All six of the crew were lost at sea.
- Frank William "Billy" Tyne Jr. (Captain), aged 37 Gloucester, Massachusetts
- Michael "Bugsy" Moran, aged 36 Bradenton Beach, Florida
- Dale R. "Murph" Murphy, aged 30 Bradenton Beach, Florida
- Alfred Pierre, aged 32 New York City
- Robert F. "Bobby" Shatford, aged 30 Gloucester, Massachusetts
- David "Sully" Sullivan, aged 29 New York City