$1.4 billion fishing industry stays afloat amid regulations, tragedies

It’s been two months since the missing crab vessel Destination was found on the ocean floor of the Bering Sea. The Seattle-based crew went missing in February.  All six people on board died when the crab boat went down in “Deadliest Catch” waters. You can see the memorial that still stands at Fisherman’s Terminal in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.  It’s a grim reminder that Alaskan fishing is still coined the most dangerous job in the world, but the commercial fishing industry also has helped form the blueprint of the Pacific Northwest. Latest numbers from the state show it brings in $1.4 billion a year to our state.  Today, it employs more than 14,000 people. Today, the $35 million, 191-foot freezer liner Blue North glides across the Bering Sea, catching cod in a moon pool.  Video, click here to read the story 09:02

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

‘Deadliest Catch’ tragedy: Sig Hansen in tears as crab fishermen friends are lost at sea

Crab fishing is a dangerous profession and that was made tragically clear on Tuesday night’s emotional episode of “Deadliest Catch.” On the Discovery Channel show, the captains were devastated to learn that the Destination, the ship of their friend Jeff Hathaway, had gone missing off the coast of Alaska. Hathaway and his crew couldn’t be found. The Bering Sea had been fierce all winter and as the episode began, veteran Sig Hansen noted, “We have had our close calls. It makes me wonder, how many chances do we get?” Sadly, unbeknownst to the skippers, the coast guard was searching for a missing vessel that had set off a distress signal. click here to read the story 09:53

F/V Destination Investigation: Day 2 – Brother of lost fisherman tells investigators about pressures of commercial fishing

Two days before the fishing vessel Destination disappeared in the Bering Sea with six crew members aboard, Dylan Hatfield met up with the crew in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Hatfield previously worked on the Destination. His brother, Darrik Seibold, took his place and was among those lost at sea. “I personally worked with every single man,” Seibold (Hatfield)  told Coast Guard investigators who are looking into the February sinking of the boat. Hatfield said when he came off another boat and met the Destination’s crew, “the boys were pretty beat down. It was a pretty grueling cod season” with 24-hour work shifts. The crew was switching seasons, from cod to crab, and they were behind schedule for a delivery. Over dinner at the Norwegian Rat Saloon, Hatfield said, “I was all giddy and excited and it was a table full of long faces.” Video, click here to read the story 08:38

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