Not since 1983 has an American flagged merchant ship gone to the bottom in such an ugly way. The Marine Electric, deep loaded, departed the coal piers of Norfolk, Va., on the 10th day of February that year. The plan was to make a relatively short run up the coast to a power plant in Brayton Point, Mass. The ship never made it; 31 of her 34 crew members perished when Marine Electric went down off Chincoteague, Va., two days after it set out during a morning coastal storm. Some crew members were below deck in the engine room, some in the deckhouse; most froze to death in the Atlantic Ocean.