Two insurance companies said in a court filing that they should not pay the claim Nathan Carman filed for the boat he and his mother were lost at sea in and said the vessel was altered and made unsafe.
The boat was insured for $85,000.
Stamford, Connecticut-based National Liability & Fire Insurance Co. and Virginia-based Boat Owners Association of the United States have asked for a declaratory judgment in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island.
According to court filings, Carmen removed the boat's structural bulkheads, trim tabs and "the day before the boat sank (Carman) opened four half dollar-sized holes in the hull near the waterline and attempted on his own to fill them, which was not satisfactory."
Nathan Carman, 22, and his mother Linda Carman, 54, were reported missing on Sept. 18 when they failed to return from a fishing trip in the waters off Point Judith in Rhode Island.
In the days that followed, the U.S. Coast Guard searched 62,000 square miles, from the coast of Rhode Island to New York and New Jersey, but there was no sign of mother or son until Sept. 25, when a Chinese freighter called Orient Lucky found Nathan Carman alive on a life raft about 115 nautical miles off Martha's Vineyard, but there was no sign of Linda Carman, who officials presume is dead.
When Nathan Carman spoke with officials, he said he heard a "funny noise" coming from the boat's engine compartment. When he went to go look, it was filling up with water.
He also told officials that he directed his mother to reel in the fishing lines and that was the last time he saw her, according to court filings.
The insurance companies rejected the claim after a naval architect and marine surveyor assessed the boat's alterations, saying that Carman "knew his boat was unseaworthy when it departed Ram Point Marina," the filing alleges.
Nathan Carman has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the disappearance of his mother. NBC Connecticut reached out to Nathan’s attorney, who had no comment. We also reached out to the firm representing both insurance companies, but did not hear back.
Sources close to the investigation also said that Nathan Carman is a person of interest into his wealthy grandfather's homicide in 2013, but Nathan has denied any involvement in the unsolved murder.