ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland -- More than four years after a collision killed three New England fishermen, US authorities have dropped their request to extradite three Russian sailors arrested when their ship docked in Newfoundland.
US authorities alleged that the MT Virgo, a Cypriot-flagged tanker, fled after it collided with the fishing boat Starbound off Massachusetts on Aug. 5, 2001.
James Sanfilippo of Thomaston, Maine, Mark Doughty of Yarmouth, Maine, and Thomas Frontiero of Gloucester were killed. The trawler's skipper, Joseph Marcantonio of Gloucester, was the sole survivor.
The Russian-owned tanker was seized by Canadian officials soon after it arrived at the Come By Chance oil refinery. Captain Vladimir Ivanov and crewmen Mikhail Gerasimenko and Dmitry Bogdanov later were arrested.
They faced involuntary manslaughter and negligence charges in the United States. In 2003, the three men returned to Russia after the Newfoundland Court of Appeal ruled they no longer could be held in Canada.
It remains unclear what American authorities will do now that the case has shifted to Russia.