Captain lost off Canso

By Lois Ann Dort    

CANSO – On Tuesday, February 6 at approximately 8 p.m. the fishing vessel Fisherman's Provider II ran aground four kilometres off Canso on what is locally known as the Frying Pan Shoal. A local vessel, the Miss Lexi, rescued three of the crew -- Roy Campbell, Anthony Cooke and Brian Sinclair --on Tuesday night. The Captain of the stranded vessel, Roger Stoddard, chose to stay aboard the floundering ship, which is owned by Fisherman's Market based in Halifax.

In the days that followed, the Coast Guard and Joint Task Force Atlantic monitored the situation on the shoal and reported that there were no further sightings or communication from Captain Stoddard. During that time a tether was attached to the Fisherman's Provider II from the Coast Guard vessel. Due to poor weather conditions, Coast Guard crew could not safely board the vessel.

On February 8 the matter was turned over to the RCMP as a missing persons investigation. An RCMP news release stated, “This was after the JRCC had exhausted its efforts to recover the body of 64-year-old Roger Stoddard, the captain of the vessel.”

The next day, Friday, February 9 a group of five fishermen, including Captain Stoddard's long-time friend Steve Goreham and four others, including Steve Meade and Alan Newell, boarded the Fisherman’s Provider II and recovered Captain Stoddard's body.

Fisherman's Market issued a public facebook post on Friday thanking those that helped the crew and retrieved Stoddard.

“Our sincerest gratitude goes out to the fishers in Canso and the community as a whole, for their efforts over the past few days and the concern they showed to our Captain and crew.

“We are also thankful to the Canadian Coast Guard and members of the Joint Task Force Atlantic who responded to the distress signal and provided support.”

In memory of Captain Stoddard, the post signed by Fred Greene and Monte Snow of Fisherman's Market stated, “While he was only our Captain for a short time, he was well known to the fishing community as courageous and driven, someone who knew where to seek out the fish and landed millions of pounds over his lifetime. He will be remembered as a proud fisherman and his loss will be deeply felt across the fishing community in Nova Scotia.

“On behalf of everyone at Fisherman’s Market, our thoughts are with Roger’s family and those closest to him at this difficult time.”