It 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.
A debris field was located by aircrews in the general area of the EPIRB alert, approximately two miles northwest of St. George Island. Debris included the transmitting EPIRB, a life ring from the vessel, buoys, tarps and an oil sheen.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the six crewmembers during this extremely difficult time,” said Rear Adm. Michael McAllister, Coast Guard 17th District commander. “The decision to suspend a search is always difficult and is made with great care and consideration.”
Many civilians on St. George Island participated in the search, patrolling the shorelines for any sign of the missing vessel or crew.
“I’d like to thank the volunteers on St. George Island who conducted shoreline searches and the crewmembers of the fishing vessels Bering Rose and Silver Spray for helping with the search efforts,” McAllister said.
Taking part in the search for the six crewmembers and the F/V DESTINATION were two HC-130 Hercules airplanes, two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and one MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak. The Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau, a 378-foot high endurance vessel homeported in Honolulu, Hawaii, also joined the search. Around-the-clock watchstanders in the 17th District command center coordinated the search and communications.
The Coast Guard will continue to investigate the cause of the incident.