The Alaska fishing vessel Exito has reportedly sank 14 miles Northeast of Dutch Harbor. Three crewman have been rescued and the search continues for two missing crewmen. The Exito’s owner called the Coast Guard at 9:30 Tuesday night reporting the vessel was taking on water and the crew was preparing to abandon ship. A near by vessel Afognac Strait was able to locate and rescue three of the Exito’s crew. The search continues the two missing crew. One of the missing crewmen was last seen in a survival suit preparing to abandon ship.
Details about the search for the missing crewman are not available at this time. Details about the cause of the sinking are also unavailable. New reports indicate the Exit0 was carrying cargo for Trident Seafoods from Dutch Harbor to Akutan. The cargo included fifty five gallon drums and x-ray equipment. Downflooding of fishing vessel’s like the Exito can quickly cause a sinking. The Exito is a 117 foot steel hulled vessel built in 1956. Coast Guard records indicate the vessel is home ported in Dutch Harbor, but the vessel is a familiar presence in Seattle. The vessel is registered as being owned by Aleautian Endeavor LLC.
Weather conditions at the time of the incident were reported to be 8 foot seas with winds around 30 miles per hour.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available about the incident. Working as a Commercial Fisherman or Alaska deckhand remains one of the most dangerous and deadly occupations in the world. In recent years safety regulations have improved the ability of crewman to survive the sinkings of their vessels. Special safety rules may apply to vessels handling cargo operations.
Update: The Coast Guard’s search for the two missing crewmen from the Exito has been suspended. The Exito was part of a crab license/permit buy back program and had not been engaged in crab fishing for over ten years. Reports indicate the vessel had been doing cargo type work and charter work for environmental environmental purposes.