‘Codfather’-owned vessels raised; investigation into sinking continues

Photos: Eric Halperin/WPRI-TV

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A pair of vessels owned by an imprisoned fishing magnate are back above water after mysteriously sinking in New Bedford Harbor earlier this month.

The Nemesis is now floating at Leonard’s Wharf and the Dinah Jane across the way at Homer’s Wharf. They both sank on the night of Feb. 4 and crews spent more than a week working to get them raised.

A crane from New York was brought in to help, according to Edward C. Anthes-Washburn, executive director of the Harbor Development Commission. He said the way the ships went down made the recovery operation more difficult.

“Sinking vessels, unfortunately, isn’t that uncommon,” he said. “Obviously having two was a little bit trickier and the way that they went down, they were sort of intertwined, so being careful not to cause too much damage when you’re raising one.”

“From the way everything went, it seems like it worked out pretty well in terms of the salvage operation,” he added.

The vessels are owned by Carlos Rafael, known as the “Codfather.” He’s currently behind bars, serving a roughly four-year sentence for smuggling money and evading fishing quotas.

The two vessels can hold a combined 9,500 gallons of fuel, but Anthes-Washburn said the environmental impact was limited thanks to the quick work of first responders.

The U.S. Coast Guard echoed those comments and said the vessels’ sinking remains under investigation.

“We’re interested to see where the investigation goes on the sinking of these two vessels,” Anthes-Washburn said.

Anthes-Washburn said the recovery operation was paid for by the owner’s insurance.

Eyewitness News contacted Carlos Seafood, Inc. for comment but our calls were not returned.