The Tragic Sinking of Gloucester's Patriot

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On the evening of January 2, 2009, Captain Matteo Russo and crewman John Orlando got underway aboard the fifty-four-foot fishing vessel Patriot, from the iconic State Pier in Gloucester, Massachusetts, bound for nearby fishing grounds in search of cod. They never returned. What happened less than eight hours later on that bitter and dark winter early morning that caused the Patriot to sink? Why did the Coast Guard deliberate more than two hours before launching a rescue mission? Using official documents, numerous interviews and insight as a search and rescue commander, maritime historian Captain W. Russell Webster, USCG (Ret.), expertly documents the tragedy of the Patriot, with startling findings. He deftly explores the condition of “normalcy bias” linked to this heartbreaking case, which can cause people—including Coast Guard personnel—to deny and sometimes over-deliberate threats to human life.
ISBN: 9781467150866
Format: Paperback
Publisher: The History Press
State: Massachusetts
Series: Disaster
Images: 24
Pages: 144
Dimensions: 6 (w) x 9 (h)
Following a forty-five-year federal career with the Coast Guard, TSA and FEMA, Captain Webster retired in 2021, when he was recognized by the Department of Homeland Security with the Secretary’s Outstanding Performance Award. Captain Webster served in the Coast Guard for twenty-six years, where he was engaged in or oversaw more than ten thousand search and rescue cases and was part of a team that developed anti-terrorist doctrine. Captain Webster is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, where he was honored as the 2017 Distinguished Alumni. He resides on Boston’s South Shore with his family, where he continues to write and consult in homeland security and emergency management. To learn more, visit
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