Marine Electric

February 10, 1983 carrying a cargo of 25,000 tons of coal. Seas were rough and skies were overcast. The air and water temperature was cold andAs the ship cruised off Virginia’s east shore, the weather deteriorated. By the next morning, the seas were between 20 and 40 feet, with winds up at 60 knots. By the nightfall, the ship began to founder. An inspection revealed that the holds were filling with sea water. Around 4PM a distress call was sent and acknowledged by the Coast Guard. A rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, was immediately dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival the helicopter found that the ship had sunk and 34 people were in the water.The wreck is in two major pieces in about 125 feet of water at roughly 37 52.896N 74 46.558W. It sits on the 20 fathom line about 30 miles east of Chincoteague Inlet. The wreck is heavily visited by divers, commercial fishermen and recreational anglers. It holds sea bass and is visited by shark fishermen often. Occasionally a bite of bluefin tuna develops there.Report from the US Coast Guard:12 February 1983The Marine Electric, while enroute from Norfolk, Virginia to Brayton, Mass. carrying a full load of steam coal, reportedto the Coast that she was taking on water and going down by the head.Gale force weather conditions existed at the time.At 0415, 12 February 1983, as the ships crew was preparing to abandon ship, the MARINE ELECTRIC capsized,throwing most of the 34 crewman into the water. Rescue efforts by US Coast Guard and US Navy aircraft and surface vessels, and merchant vessels resulted in the recovery of 3 survivors and 24 bodies. 7 persons remained missing and presumed dead.The overturned stern of the vessel remained visible until approximately 1130,. 12 February,1983.At that time the vessel sank in about 120 feet of water, approximately 30 nautical Virginia. The Comandant has determined that actual cause of the casualty is unknown. The most probable cause wasted top plating of the dry cargo hatch andwhich permitted boarding seas to flood the vessel’s forward spaces