Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation – Icy spray, heavy pots may have doomed Seattle crab boat F/V Destination

What caused the February sinking of the Seattle-based Destination in the Bering Sea? On the morning of Feb. 11, crab-boat skipper Daher Jorge received a Coast Guard radio request to assist a Bering Sea search for a missing vessel — the Seattle-based Destination. But Jorge’s own boat, the Polar Sea, was burdened by a thickening mantle of ice that made it more vulnerable to sinking. His crew had been unable to break off all that ice while at sea, so Jorge felt compelled to reject the call for assistance and head to port in Alaska’s Pribilof Islands. “That was the only reason we did not go. For our own safety,” Jorge testified during two weeks of hearings held earlier this month in Seattle by a Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation into the sinking of the Destination and loss of all six of its crew. click here to read the story 12:44

F/V Destination – Day 1: Investigation Hearing begins

In Seattle on Monday, the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board began two weeks of testimony into the sinking. Monday was spent questioning the ship’s owner, 68-year-old David Wilson. The experienced fisherman, who hired Captain Jeff Hathaway back in 1993, recounted documents recapping the safety drills and briefings given to all crew before the season began. Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, Charles Jones and Kai Hamik were all on board with Hathaway. All presumed lost. Earlier this summer, the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy spent days over the wreck and found the vessel sitting upright in 240 feet of water listing to the port.  On Monday morning, Wilson was asked about maintenance issues — including a discussion, he had with the ship’s captain by phone while in Alaska. click here to read the story Todays proceedings can be reviewed click here, and the hearing restart at 09:00 tomorrow, using that link. 20:06

Crew of lost crabbing vessel declared legally dead

The six men lost when their crabbing boat sank on a cold morning in the Bering Sea last month were declared legally dead at an unusual court proceeding Monday, allowing heartbroken families to take a first step toward closure and settling their loved ones’ affairs. The proceeding, known as a presumptive death hearing, is a kind of mini-trial held to determine whether a missing person can be declared dead. They are often held in the cases of people who have disappeared in such extreme terrain as to have exhausted the chances of survival or recovery. The fishing vessel Destination sank 3 miles north of St. George Island on the morning of Feb. 11, just before starting the winter snow crab season. The bodies of the men aboard — captain Jeff Hathaway and crew members Kai Hamik, Darrik Seibold, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler and Charles G. Jones — have not been found. continue reading the story here 23:34