18 FEB 2021
The captain and third mate of the product tanker Vulcanello have been arrested in connection with the sinking of the fishing boat Nuova Iside on May 12, 2020, which resulted in the deaths of three fishermen.
The two officers have been charged with causing a shipwreck and manslaughter, and they are under arrest pending trial. The Vulcanello’s owner has been placed under house arrest, and he has been charged with fraud and aiding and abetting, according to Italian media.
On the night of the casualty, the Nuova Iside was operating off the northwestern coast of Sicily, and she sent a mayday message which was received by the Palermo port authorities. A search was launched and two bodies were recovered. The remains of the final missing crewmember were found on the coast of Calabria one month later.
After an investigation into the circumstances of the sinking, the Italian Coast Guard decided to seize the VDR of the Vulcanello. A search of the shipowner’s offices allegedly uncovered evidence that the Vulcanello’s hull had been repainted after the vessel collided with the fishing boat.
The victims have been identified as Vito Lo Ianoco, the skipper of the Nuova Iside; his cousin Giuseppe; and his father Matteo. Since the casualty, their family has pressed for answers about the cause of the sinking, and has refused to accept that it was simply an accident caused by foul weather conditions.
“In our hearts we felt that something strange and terrible had happened that night. Our relatives were expert seamen and would never put themselves in danger. What happened in these hours gives us confirmation of what we already knew,” said Rosalba Cracchiolo, mother of Vito Lo Iacono and wife of Matteo Lo Iacono, in a statement to Italian media. “We appreciate the work done by the Palermo prosecutor to bring out the truth.”