Articles Posted in Vessel Sinkings

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Quick action by an Ilwaco charter boat captain and his deckhand saved the lives of three fishermen last week. The three fishermen’s vessel began taking on water around 7:00 A.M. after crossing the bar and starting to fish just west of Cape Disappointment. The operator of the vessel, Dirk Irwin noticed the vessel was low in the stern and when the engine compartment was opened it was discovered to be flooded. The bilge pump failed and within minutes the engine quit. Irwin issued a May Day message to the Coast Guard indicating he was sinking and in need of immediate help. According to the news report Irwin’s boat, which he had borrowed from a friend, sank shortly after his call for help was made.   Luckily, Irwin and two 16-year-old passengers, Justin Williamson and Jake Kazamecki, were able to get on life preservers before the vessel sank.

Irwin’s radio message calling for help was heard by a near by Pacific Salmon Charters skipper, Brian Cables.   Cables quick action would save the three fishermen’s lives.   Cable piloted his charter boat the Pacific Dream, which had 16 passengers on board, to the area where Irwin reported his boat was sinking. With the aid of his deck hand, and the sixteen passengers aboard his charter boat Cables spotted the three Fishermen in the water.   Deckhand Patrick Gore threw the three fishermen a life ring and with the aid of charter passengers on the Pacific Dream pulled the three crewmen aboard the charter boat.

The rescued fishermen were suffering from signs of hypothermia. They were transferred to a Coast Guard motor lifeboat and taken back to Cape Disappointment Coast Guard Station for medical evaluation.   Search of the area was unable to locate the sunken vessel.

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Alaska State Troopers have confirmed that two missing crewman’s bodies have been recovered from the hull of the fishing vessel Miss Destinee. 18 and 22 year old Joshua and Abigail Osborne became trapped in the hull of the vessel when it capsized on June 29, 2017. Both Osborne’s were part of the same Wasilla family and reportedly had just become crewmembers aboard the Miss Destinee. A Celebration of Life service will be held for the two-young fisherman on Saturday July 8th at the Summit Worship Center.

The Miss Destinee was a small 35-foot long purse seine vessel. News reports indicate, the owner of the vessel Kyle Mead claims the vessel was underway to Kodiak with a load of fish when it was struck by a “rogue wave” causing the vessel to lay over onto its starboard side and capsize. Mead and another crewman were in the vessel’s upper wheelhouse and survived by clinging onto the vessel’s seine skiff until then could be rescued by a nearby vessel. It appears that in the capsizing of the vessel the two Osborne’s were unable to escape from below decks and were trapped in the vessel’s hull.

A salvage company has been able to right and refloat the Miss Destinee and the vessel has been towed to Kodiak where it will be examined by the Coast Guard. In vessel capsizing cases, the investigation into the cause of the capsizing focuses on multiple factors including operation and navigation of the vessel, the loading and stability characteristics of the vessels, together with the wind and sea conditions. Rogue waves are extremely rare conditions.

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The Coast Guard and the National Board of Transportation will hold hearings to investigate the February 11, 2017 disappearance of the Alaska crab fishing vessel DESTINATION. Six crewmen aboard the vessel remain missing and presumed dead. Witness testimony will be taken in Seattle beginning on August 7th. The focus of the investigation will be upon factors that contributed to the cause of the sinking and whether or not negligence or violations of the law on the part of any person holding Coast Guard licenses may have contributed to the sinking.   Information gathered in the casualty investigation may be used to develop new safety regulation to help prevent future sinkings.

Little is currently publicly known about the sinking of the 98 foot long DESTINATION. Some reported theories speculate that the DESTINTATION may have experienced severe icing conditions leading to loss of stability and capsizing of the vessel. No emergency may-day message was received from the vessel and search for the vessel located only a minor debris field and a small oil sheen. Search for the vessel was suspended after three days.

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June 29 2017

The Coast Guard and nearby fishing vessels are continuing to search for two crewmen missing from the fishing vessel Miss Destinee. The incident happened about 23 miles north of Kodiak in Marmot Bay.

The Coast Guard received a mayday message on channel sixteen from a nearby vessel indicating that the 39 foot purse seine vessel Miss Destinee was in trouble. The call was received around 7:30 A.M. Thursday morning.

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An 81-foot tug boat owned by Samson Tug and Barge Company sank at a Sitka pier Wednesday night. The 81-foot tug Powhatan had been out of service for ten years and no crew was reported injured in the incident. The major concern is potential pollution to the environment. Samson has indicated that although the vessel had a 20,000 gallon fuel capacity, all but one of the vessel’s tanks had been previously drained. However, the forward tank reportedly contained approximately 2,500 gallons of fuel.

After sinking the tug was described as sliding under the pier and resting on an underwater ledge. Some signs of diesel and oil leakage have been noted. An oil boom has been put in place.   The Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are responding to the accident. Samson is developing a salvage plan for the raising of the vessel and to minimize environmental damage. Weather conditions were mild with 11 mile per hour winds and 2 foot seas. What caused the tug’s sinking is unknown and under investigation.

In other Northwest maritime news three passengers from a pleasure boat were rescued from their vessel after going aground at Boulder Island in the San Juan Islands. The Coast Guard airlifted the passengers from their vessel, it is not known whether there were any injuries.



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An Alaska Court has held a presumptive death hearing declaring the six-missing crewmen from the F/V DESTINATION lost at sea and presumed dead. The ruling allows the families of the crewman to obtain official death certificates necessary for administering the estates and pursuing legal claims and benefits relating to the deaths of the crewmen.

The vessel with six crewmen on board disappeared on February 11, 2017 approximately two miles north of St. George Island. No mayday message was issued by the vessel and only small amounts of wreckage were located. The Coast Guard was alerted that the vessel was in trouble when it received an EPIRB signal.  Despite search and rescue efforts, no trace of the six-missing crewmen has been found.

Memorial Services for the missing crewman are to be held on March 23rd in the Seattle area. Missing and presumed dead are Raymond Vincler, Larry o’Grady, Charles Jones, Darrik Seibold, Kai Hamik and captain of the vessel Jeff Hathaway.

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February 24, 2017

The United States Coast Guard has announced they will convene a Marine Board of Investigation into the sinking of the Alaska crab fishing vessel Destination.   Six crewman remain missing as a result of the February 1, 2017 disappearance of the Destination.   An emergency locator beacon first alerted the Coast Guard that the Destination was in trouble. No mayday message was received from the vessel. Search and rescue efforts provided few clues as to the cause of the vessel’s disappearance. All that was located in the area of the EPIRB was an oil sheen, life ring from the vessel, buoys and tarps. Sea and weather conditions in the area suggest that the vessel may have experienced freezing ocean spray conditions. Icing conditions can lead to vessel stability problems.

The Marine Board of Investigation will gather evidence relating to factors that may have contributed to the incident. The Marine Board may subpoena records and take sworn statements from witnesses. Past crewmen will be interviewed. Typically in past casualties involving Alaska fishing vessels the investigations have focused on maintenance and repair of the vessel including any alterations, additions or subtractions to or from the vessel that may have impacted the vessel’s stability. Weather and sea conditions will be examined to determine the possibility that icing conditions may have played a role in the loss of the vessel. The vessel’s stability will be analyzed and the vessel’s stability report will be reviewed. An important issue will be how the vessel was loaded with pots and gear, and its ability to dump gear quickly in the event of citing conditions.

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Three commercial fishermen have been rescued from the F/V Coastal Reign.  The crew of the Coastal Reign issued a may-day message indicating they were taking on water near the mouth of the Columbia River.  The captain reported the vessel had struck a submerged object.  Coast Guard responded with motor life boats and helicopters and arriving on the scene with emergency pumps to help the vessel which was in danger of sinking.  The emergency efforts were successful in pumping out the vessel and the F/V Coastal Reign was taken in tow to Warrenton, Oregon.  Weather conditions at the scene were described as six-foot swells with winds of 15 miles per hour.  The Captain of the Port issued an order requiring the Coastal Reign to be properly inspected and repaired before returning to service.

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An EPIRB signal alerted the Coast Guard on Saturday that the Alaska fishing vessel Destination may be in trouble near St. George Island. The emergency signal came from a location about two miles northwest of St. George Island, a port the Destination frequently visited. Coast Guard vessels and helicopters searched the area locating a debris field, oil sheen, buoys, tarps, life ring and the EPIRB. Searchers were unable to locate any sign of the missing crewman or their vessel.  Weather on the scene was reported to be 30-mile per-hour winds with seas of 5-8 feet, and temperature of 20 degrees. The Coast Guard is continuing its search and the Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau was anticipated to arrive in the search area Sunday morning.

The Destination is a 98-foot vessel home based in Seattle. Little details are now available about the event. The event may have happened quickly before the crew of the Destination was able to get off a May Day message and launch their survival rafts. It is unknown whether or not freezing spray may have contributed to the incident.  Icing conditions if they existed in the area could cause a vessel to suddenly lose stability.  Further information about the weather conditions at the time of the emergency signal is currently unavailable.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

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January 7, 2017 – Five crewmen were saved when the F/V Star King sank near the Columbia River bar during the first week of the West Coast crab season. The captain of the Star King issued an emergency may day call just after 4:30 A.M. Saturday morning reporting that the vessel was taking on water and listing to the starboard. The crew of the vessel were able to done survival suits and abandoned ship before the Star King capsized and sank just minutes later.  The Sea Ballad another fishing vessel working in the area was able to rescue all five of the crewman from the water. The crew of the Star King was transferred to a motor life boat from Cape Disappointment and taken to shore in Ilwaco. Information about any injuries to the crew is not currently available. Coast Guard records indicate that the 55 foot Star King is owned by Kindred Fisheries Inc.

The fishing strike over the price of dungeness was crab had been settled ($ 2.875 per pound) and the fleet were to begin setting crab pots at 8:00 A. M. on Saturday. In many past cases overloading or improper loading of crab boats at the start of fishing seasons have lead to vessels sinking. For the safety of the crew of crab fishing vessels, detailed stability analysis should be performed on each crab boat to establish safe loading limits. Information about how the Star King was loaded was not reported or available at this time. Quick action by the crew in getting into their survival suits before the Star King sank undoubtedly saved these crewman’s lives. Without survival suits and flotation devices the survival time for a crewman in the winter ocean waters off the coast of Washington and Oregon can be just minutes depending on sea conditions.

In a second incident four miles off the coast of Long Beach, the Coast Guard escorted the crew of the fishing vessel Tracer back to shore on Sunday. The crew called for help after reporting they were taking on water with loss of engine power. With the assistance of pumps provided by the Coast Guard the Tracer was able to regain power and control the flooding. Weather conditions were reported as 5 foot swells with 30 mile per hour winds.

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