Mudcat Café message #1416193 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8054   Message #1416193
Posted By: katlaughing
21-Feb-05 - 03:29 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers)
Subject: RE: Origins: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers)
Thought I'd add a note to this thread. While watching "Deep Sea Detectives" on the History Channel the other night, they re-ran an episode from last November. It was about a ship called the Marine Electric which went down in 1983. I've included the blurb about it below.

What really struck me was when one of the only three survivors described how several of them were clinging some sort of flotsam, each getting weaker and weaker with the passing of time and the cold of the water. As they dropped off, one by one, he said he kept thinking of, and trying to sing, the chorus of this song. It was an incredibly poignant moment.

The subsequent investigation of this wreck led to some important changes in the Coast Guard and the industry regarding these kinds of ships. The crew was exonerated, esp. due to the efforts of one investigator from the Coast Guard, Capt. Domenic Calicchio. You may read more about him and his courageous stance about this incident here

Here's the blurb from the History Channel:

The once majestic SS Marine Electric lies 134 feet beneath the Atlantic off the coast of Virginia. While hauling coal on the night of February 12, 1983, she suddenly capsized and sank in a savage winter storm. With no time to launch lifeboats, 34 men were hurled into the frozen Atlantic. Only three survived. What caused a veteran merchant ship to plunge to the ocean floor? Survivors blamed the owners for sending an unsafe boat to sea. But the owners charged that one of the survivors caused his crewmates' deaths by failing to observe basic safety procedures. In the shadow of these allegations, the wreck is a potential crime scene. Divers pore over the rusting hulk hunting for evidence in an effort to answer the tantalizing question of what, or who, sent the Marine Electric to her watery grave.