Articles Posted in Vessel Sinkings

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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.

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El-Faro-300x225The third and final EL FARO hearing has been scheduled for February 6, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation will focus on crew witnesses, TOTE company officials, Coast Guard officials as well as the contents of EL FARO’S voyage data recorder (VDR). The transcript of bridge audio recordings was released on December 13, 2016, by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The examination of data from the voyage data recorder began on August 15, one week after the device was located at a depth of 15,000 feet and brought to the surface. NTSB recovered about 26 hours of information from the device, including bridge audio, navigational data, onboard radar images, route planning and wind data.

The investigation seeks to determine which factors contributed to the sinking, and will look for evidence of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence, willful violation of the law by any licensed or certified person, as well as whether there is any evidence that Coast Guard personnel or any government employee contributed to the accident.

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StarKingRescueWARRENTON, Ore. – Five commercial fishermen were rescued from the water after their fishing vessel STAR KING, a 55-foot stern trawler, capsized and sank near the mouth of the Columbia River early Saturday morning.

Crewmembers were pulled from the water by good Samaritan fishing vessel SEA BALLAD, then transferred to the Coast Guard 47-foot Motor Life Boat. The STAR KING crew were then transported to Ilwaco, Washington by Coast Guard personnel. No crewmembers required medical attention.

Watchstanders at the Sector Columbia River command center received the first mayday call at 4:31 a.m. It was reported that the vessel was taking on water and listing hard to starboard before capsizing and sending all five fishermen into the water. All crewmembers were accounted for by 5:10 a.m.

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Rscue-300x199Two weeks of Coast Guard hearings and testimonies this past month are slowly revealing the mystery behind the July 26th sinking of the Alaska JURIS that forced 46 crewmembers to abandon ship in the Bering Sea. Chief Engineer aboard the JURIS, Eddie Hernandez, was a key witness for Coast Guard attempts to reveal operations of the vessel’s owner, Fishing Company of Alaska. The company teams with a Japanese fish buyer, Anyo Fisheries, and continues to operate three factory trawlers whose crews process and freeze catch.

This is not the first time that Fishing Company of Alaska has been at the center of a major Coast Guard inquiry. In fact, many issues that surfaced during the Alaska JURIS hearings paralleled the 2008 sinking of FCA’s Alaska Ranger. In both instances, there were reported gaps in a Coast Guard inspection program, chronic vessel maintenance issues, and safety conflicts between a U.S. crew and Japanese workers.

Although the report on the Alaska JURIS is not expected for months, the hearings offered a look at conditions and operations aboard the vessel. Crewmember Carl Lee Jones revealed in testimony problems surrounding rusting pipes, run down crew quarters, and Japanese crew members who refused to participate in safety drills.

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exitoThe Coast Guard cancelled the search for the two missing crewmembers of the EXITO after searching for more than 40 hours. The EXITO sank 14 miles out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, north of Unalaska Bay, on Tuesday night, December 6. Three crewmembers who abandoned ship were rescued by the Good Samaritan ship AFOGNAK STRAIT. Two other people onboard, names currently withheld, have not been found.

The Coast Guard Cutter ALEX HALEY, a Jayhawk helicopter crew, and three Good Samaritan ships searched for the remaining two people Wednesday and Thursday. “The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one to make and is done with great care and deliberation after thoroughly evaluating our search efforts and the situation,” said Capt. Laura Dickey, chief of staff of the 17th Coast Guard District. “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing men.”

The cause of the sinking is still under investigation. This firm’s thoughts and prayers are also with the family and friends of the two missing men.

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exitoTwo of five crewmembers are still missing after the 117’ EXITO sank 14 miles northeast of Dutch Harbor, Alaska on Tuesday evening, December 6.

The owner of the EXITO called the Anchorage Coast Guard around 9:40 pm to report that the ship was taking on water and the crew was preparing to abandon ship. A Kodiak Jayhawk helicopter aircrew and four Good Samaritan ships in the area responded, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Meredith Manning.

“One of the Good Samaritan vessels, the AFOGNAK STRAIT, located three EXITO crew members and took them aboard their vessel,” Manning said. “The three had abandoned ship together, and the other two were preparing to abandon ship.” The AFOGNAK STRAIT crew rushed the three to Dutch Harbor. The rescued crewmembers reported that one of the missing EXITO crew had put on an immersion suit and was last seen preparing to abandon ship.

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The U.S. Coast Guard began a two-week public Formal Marine Investigation today to determine the cause of the sinking of the 220-foot fishing vessel, ALASKA JURIS. The vessel sank off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands on July 26th.

Efforts were made to locate the sunken vessel by the Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and The Fishing Company of Alaska, but the vessel was never found. The ALASKA JURIS sank in approximately 5,400 feet of water, and its last known location was about 41 miles northeast of Segula Island.

The Seventeenth Coast Guard District commander will be holding the two weeks of hearings at the Henry Jackson Federal Building in Seattle. Testimony will be streamed live and can be seen at Livestream.