At around 11:30am on Tuesday, July 26, Coast Guard 17th District watchstanders received an electronic position alert from fishing vessel ALASKA JURIS. The vessel had been traveling in the Bering Sea near Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain, 150 miles northwest of Adak when it began taking on water. Coast Guard contacted the crew directly, confirming that the 220-foot vessel was in distress, and all 46 crewmembers had begun donning survival suits and boarding the three life rafts.
The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast to surrounding vessels, and sent a Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane and two Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters to the scene. Vessels Spar Canis, Vienna Express, Seafisher, and Ocean Pease diverted to assist. Seas were calm at the time of rescue, though heavy fog presented poor visibility. ALASKA JURIS crewmembers boarded Good Samaritan vessels around 5:00pm, and began the 13-hour voyage to Adak, AK.
Lt. Joseph Schlosser of the U.S. Coast Guard reported to the Alaska Dispatch News that preliminary information suggests the sinking could be tied to mechanical problems in the ship’s engine room. Definitive cause remains under investigation. There are no reports of injuries.
The sinking shares many aspects of the ALASKA RANGER sinking which occurred in 2008, in which five Fishing Company of Alaska crewmembers perished at sea. After the 2008 ALASKA RANGER sinking, members of the Stacey & Jacobsen law firm represented survivors who testified before the United States Coast Guard Board of Inquiry. Members of the firm also attended the Coast Guard’s hearings and interviewed survivors to determine the likely cause of the casualty. After the ALASKA RANGER sinking members of Stacey & Jacobsen represented several survivors in claims for compensation before State and Federal courts.