The 65 foot fishing vessel CAPTAIN JOHN sank Sunday night 30 miles west of La Push. Five crewmen aboard the vessel are reported safe. The vessel sent a distress call to the Coast Guard at 2:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon indicating the vessel was flooding and in danger of sinking. The Coast Guard dispatched a Dolphin Helicopter and motor life boat to the scene. A Coast Guard rescue swimmer helped the crew into the CAPTAIN JOHN’s life raft, where the crew remained until the motor life boat arrived on the scene. Weather conditions were reported as mild with seas of 2-3 feet and winds of 15 MPH. The vessel was reported to have been loaded with 70,000 pounds of Dover Sole.
Commercial fishing off the coast of Washington and Oregon remains extremely dangerous. Few regulations apply to commercial fishing vessels of this size. The cause of this sinking is under investigation. The Coast Guard investigation will likely investigate the construction and design of the vessel, and maintenance and repair records for the vessel, as well as the vessel’s safety equipment. In similar sinkings in this area, such as the LADY CECELIA in 2012, the Coast Guard investigation has looked at how the loading of the vessel may have impacted stability.