Edna G

A black and white photo of a small ship on the water
Edna G. underway. Photo: Courtesy of Maine Maritime Museum

Ship Stats

A scan of a seafloor showing a shipwreck
Side-scan sonar image of the Edna G. shipwreck. Photo: L-3 Klein Associates, Inc. and NOAA/SBNMS


Ship Stats: Eastern-rig dragger Edna G.

Depth: over 300 feet

Length: 54 feet

Breadth: 16 feet

Depth of Hold: 6 feet

Built: 1956, wooden-hulled, engine-powered fishing vessel, Morehead City Shipbuilding Construction, North Carolina

Port of Registry: USA

Owner: Earl Holton, Pamlico Packing Company (until 1972)

Date Lost: June 30, 1988

Owner at Time of Sinking: Antonio Romeo

Crew: 2 (Captain Romeo and brother, Giuseppe Romeo)

Sunk By: Foundering due to unknown causes Survivors: 2 out of 2

Data Collected on Site: Side-scan sonar; ROV photography and video

Significance: Edna G was a wooden-hulled eastern-rig dragger that was powered by internal combustion and deployed, towed, and recovered its otter trawl net or dredge over the starboard or port side (as opposed to over the stern as done in modern trawlers). These gasoline or diesel powered vessels were a transitional design between earlier wooden sailing schooners and modern steel trawlers. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011 due to its importance as a remarkably intact example of 20th century fishing technology.

A drawing of a eastern rig dragger
Edna G. is classified as an eastern rig dragger, which has its wheelhouse located near the stern and the nets dragged off the side. Art: NOAA
A drawing of a western rig dragger
In contrast to the eastern rig style, western rig draggers place the wheelhouse forward and deploy nets from the stern. Art: NOAA

Present Day

A newspaper clipping about Edna G sinking click to view full size image
Edna G.'s sinking made the front page of the Gloucester Daily Times on June 30, 1988. Image: NOAA/SBNMS

Edna G. sits in over 300 feet of water upright and nearly intact. Discovered in 2002, the bow faces south, with the wheelhouse and helm still in place. Four rectangular windows frame the captain's view of the deck and a radiator is still attached inside while invertebrates partially cover the white paint of the wheelhouse's outside. The double-drum trawl winch sits forward of the pilot house along the vessel's port side, orientated fore and aft, along the vessel's port side. There is a considerable quantity of fishing gear on it, including its trawl net, partially suspended by its floats. Other nets, such as gill nets, have become entangled in Edna G.'s own nets since its sinking.

Historical Background

The Morehead City Shipbuilding Corporation of Morehead City, North Carolina built Edna G in 1956. The dragger measured 54 feet long by 16 feet wide with a 6 foot depth of hold. Edna G fished down south for Earl Holton of the Pamlico Packing Company until 1972 when it moved up to Portland, Maine. Its homeport changed to Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1977. Between 1977 and its loss in 1988, the dragger fished for groundfish under captains Joseph Lochirco, Salvatore Sciortino, Pasquale Vitale, and Antonio Romeo.

Around 5:30 a.m. on June 30, 1988, Edna G.'s crew, consisting of Antonio Romeo and his brother Giuseppe, heard a strange noise in the engine room while they were deploying the trawl net. When they went below, they found the engine room filling with water. Thirty minutes later, the dragger sank, leaving the two men afloat in a dory. They were rescued by the fishing vessel Padro Pio and eventually transferred to a Coast Guard vessel which took them back to Gloucester. The cause of the sinking was never determined.

Part of a shipwreck coverd in marine growth
Edna G.'s wooden hull was almost completely intact aside from a hole on its portside under the wheelhouse. This hole likely caused the vessel to sink. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS, NURTEC, and the Science Channel.
Part of a shipwreck coverd in marine growth
The top of the Edna G.'s bow shows the stempost and frames. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS, NURTEC, and the Science Channel
A winch of a shipwreck
The Edna G.'s trawl winch was positioned fore and aft along the vessel's port side; therefore, the vessel towed its net off the starboard side. Photo: NOAA/SBNMS, NURTEC, and the Science Channel