Acme II

A small blue and white ship on the water
Acme II at sea. Photo courtesy of Phil Cusumano.

Ship Stats

Depth: 400 feet

Length: 69 feet Breadth: 20 feet Depth of Hold: N/A

Tonnage: 89 gross tons

Built: 1966, steel-hulled stern trawler, Biloxi, Mississippi

Port of Registry: USA

Owner: Cusumano family

Date Lost: September 6, 1988

Crew: 2

Sunk By: Engine room flooded Survivors: 2 out of 2

Significance: Tangible connection to contemporary fishing and heritage; oral history; mid-20th century fishing vessel type and technology.

Present Day

Acme II sits in 400 feet of water, 20 miles off Gloucester, Massachusetts. It is home to various forms of marine life. It is also a tangible connection to modern fishing from Gloucester. The sanctuary would like to thank Captain Phil "Filippo" Cusumano for identifying the shipwreck and providing the images.

Acme II Coordinates (two formats provided):
Decimal Degrees = N 42.52797 W 70.24628
Degrees Minutes = N 42 31.678 W 70 14.777

Historical Background

A small blue and white ship at a dock
Acme II, a western rig fishing vessel, spent its first 15 years as the Flying Dutchman. Photo courtesy of Phil Cusumano.

Acme II was built in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1966. It measured 65 feet long and 20 feet wide with a gross tonnage of 89 and a net tonnage of 60. The vessel was groundfishing off Thacher Island on September 6, 1988 when its engine room began flooding. In less than seven minutes, Acme II sank. Its two crewmembers were rescued by the nearby fishing vessel Italia.

During a systematic side-scan sonar survey, sanctuary archaeologists located a sonar target with shipwreck characteristics at a depth of 400 feet approximately 20 miles off Gloucester, Massachusetts. In partnership with the National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut, researchers investigated the target with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The ROV survey revealed a steel stern trawler sitting upright on a muddy bottom.

After investigating the shipwreck, archaeologists began searching Gloucester newspapers and talking to fishermen about the wreck. These efforts led to Captain Phil "Filippo" Cusumano, whose family owned a fishing vessel that had sunk years earlier. After reviewing the underwater video, Captain Cusumano determined that the shipwreck was his family's vessel, Acme II.