Articles Posted in Vessel Sinkings

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Yok-FenderWhen the F/V KRISTI lost power on July 14th shortly after midnight, no one could have imagined the disaster that was about to take place as the vessel drifted near Clark’s Point, a Bristol Bay village just outside of Dillingham. As the tide came in, it brought the vessel along toward shore, traveling at approximately 5 knots or 500 feet per minute.

Owner and skipper Jan Medhaug along with deckhand Kyle Brajakowski were working to restore engine power to the 32-foot salmon gillnetter while Kayla Breeden, Jan’s wife, placed a buoy at the stern. Breeden reported that she could see that they were headed straight for two large docked vessels, the 330-foot F/V GORDON JENSEN and the 400-foot cargo ship SOHOH.

With no engine power to maneuver the vessel, the tide pushed and wedged the F/V KRISTI into a Yokohama fender that was positioned between the two large vessels. A “fender” is a large rubber cylinder filled with air and wrapped in tires, that acts as a buffer to protect large vessels docked close together. The F/V KRISTI was nearly the same size as the fender, and thus the small aluminum vessel began violently bouncing between the two large steel-hulled ships. The smaller vessel twisted and took on water, then sunk seconds after the last crewmember was lifted from the vessel by the crew on the GORDON JENSEN in a rescue basket. See the astonishing video of the sinking here.

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Bristol-Bay-300x199It is with great sadness that we report that the search for missing crewmember John Phillips, 59, of Juneau, Alaska, has been suspended. Phillips was reported missing after the F/V PACIFIC KNIGHT capsized and sank near Clark’s Point in Bristol Bay on Wednesday, July 25th.

Two other crewmembers were rescued from the water by good Samaritan vessel Amanda C, then transferred to Alaska State Troopers. Authorities continue to search for the missing crewmember and investigate the cause of the accident. It is unknown if Phillips was wearing a PFD.

“Ending a search is never easy, especially when working alongside so many people dedicated to finding the missing person,” said Coast Guard Lt. Stephan Nolan, the District 17 command duty officer, in a press release. “Our condolences go out to this man’s family and friends during this time of hardship.”

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Duck-300x225In what may be the greatest loss of life in the history of the Ride the Ducks tourism program, 17 people, including five children, were killed when a duck boat sank on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri on Thursday, July 19th. The duck boat was carrying 29 tourists and two crewmembers when it flipped over during a severe storm. Survivors were taken to Cox Medical Center in Branson, Missouri for treatment.

Of the seventeen who died, more than half were members of the Coleman family of Indianapolis, Indiana. Tia Coleman survived the accident, but tragically lost her three children, husband, and five other family members.

History and Ownership

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Coast-Guard-MH-60-JayhawkThanks to the swift efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard and good Samaritan F/V Pacific Pearl, three fishermen in Sitka Sound were rescued this week after their vessel began taking on water.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a distress call from the captain of the 33-foot F/V Leona at about 10:30pm. It was reported that the vessel was taking on water and bilge pumps were unable to keep up with the rate of flooding. Watchstanders urgently requested an Air Station Sitka Jayhawk MH-60 be dispatched to the scene.

An emergency dewatering pump was lowered onto the vessel, but the F/V Leona was taking on water too rapidly; the pump could not keep up. The three crewmembers were forced to abandon ship as the vessel began sinking into Sitka Sound. The good Samaritan F/V Pacific Pearl was able to take the three crewmembers aboard then transport them to Sitka.

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MYSTIC_LADYThe U.S. Coast Guard rescued five adults and two children after the 58-foot F/V Mystic Lady sunk near Thorne Bay, Alaska.

Shortly after 4am on Friday, June 29th, watchstanders at the Station Ketchikan received a 406-emergency position indication radio beacon alert in addition to a mayday broadcast via VHF-FM Channel 16, that the vessel had hit a rock and was quickly taking on water. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew was launched and on their way to the scene by 4:34. The rescue crew traveled approximately 40 miles and reached the mariners by 5:30am. They arrived to find the F/V Mystic Lady underwater and 7 people in an inflatable life raft waving their arms.

“We were the first to arrive on scene, and I’m thankful that we were able to assist these people as quickly as we could,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Fischer, the small boat coxswain during the case. “With the inflatable life raft that the survivors used, they increased their own chances of survival exponentially until we were able to be on scene and assist.”

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Sunnfjord1280x960-300x225Five fishermen were rescued by the US Coast Guard after their vessel began taking on water west of Cape Alava, Washington.

Watchstanders were alerted to the situation on Wednesday, January 31st at 1:15 p.m. The 87-foot F/V Sunnfjord was taking on water, however, dewatering pumps were unable to keep up with the rising water. Good Samaritan vessels Island Voyager and Equinox responded to the distress call in addition to Coast Guard cutters Cuttyhunk and Swordfish. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, a Motor Life Boat from Station Quillayute River, and a Motor Life Boat from Station Neah Bay were also part of the response team. Watch the video of this heroic rescue.

As the water rose in the engine room, fishermen donned survival suits and life jackets. The helicopter crew initially planned to pick up and deliverer another dewatering pump, but as the situation grew dire, they refueled at Neah Bay then traveled directly to the F/V Sunnfjord.

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A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Research Vessel has just located the wreck of the missing F/V DESTINATION that sank in the Bering Sea this past February. The vessel and its six crew members were tragically lost in the capsize.

On the cold morning of Saturday, February 11, 2017, crew aboard the F/V DESTINATION was traveling to the fishing grounds and was just off St. George Island in the Pribilofs of the Bering Sea. Events that followed before the vessel ultimately sank are being investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The crew did not have time to send a May Day—only an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon signal was set off by F/V DESTINATION crew. This allowed immediate responders to reach the destination, but only buoys, a life ring and other debris were found at the site.

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Continental-Shelf-300x166The U.S. Coast Guard responded to the sinking of an out-of-service tugboat on Wednesday April 19th at approximately 10:15 p.m. The 81-foot tug, POWHATAN, had been docked at the Samson Tug and Barge pier.

The vessel initially sunk to a depth of about 15 meters but then shifted. The downward sloping shelf carried the sunken vessel about 330 meters out in Starrigavan Bay  to its current depth of approximately 60 meters (approximately 7 miles north of Sitka). The tug had been out of service for more than 10 years.

According to a situation report issued by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the Powhatan was carrying 325 gallons of lube oil, 12 gallons of diesel, and possible sludge in the bottom of the main tanks.

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FV-Destination-1-2It is with great sadness that we report the suspension of the search for the six missing crew members of the F/V DESTINATION. The vessel is believed to have sunk on Saturday, February 11th in the Bering Sea. Weather at the time was reported as 30-mph winds with five to eight-foot seas and snowing. The air temperature was 21 degrees and sea temperature was 3o degrees.

The Coast Guard reported that the search covered more than 5,730 square nautical miles, and included 21 coordinated searches with a total of 69 aircraft and surface hours.

Watchstanders from the 17th District reported that an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert was received from the F/V DESTINATION early Saturday morning, and that Kodiak aircrews were deployed to initiate the search.

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FV-Destination-1-2-300x169The search in the Bering Sea continues for the 98’ F/V DESTINATION and six crewmembers, whose emergency beacon broadcast a signal at 7:15 am, February 11 from two miles northwest of St. George, Alaska. The Coast Guard’s Hercules airplane crew arrived at 10:15 am to begin searching, and two helicopters crews are also assisting. Two Good Samaritan fishing vessels, SILVER SPRAY AND BERING ROSE, also assisted with the search.

The emergency beacon, or electronic position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), was found in a debris field with buoys, a life ring from the DESTINATION, tarps, and an oil sheen.

Residents in St. George are patrolling the shoreline for any signs of the crew or boat. St. George is a small Pribilof Island with a population of approximately 100.