The Boat at the Bottom of the Sea

Captain William Prout was up early. Or was it late? During crabbing season it was sometimes hard to tell the difference. The day before, Friday, February 10, 2017, Prout and his crew had offloaded a batch of snow crab on the remote Bering Sea island of St. Paul. Then they’d turned the Silver Spray around and motored back out to the fishing grounds to collect their remaining crab pots. At 5am on Saturday, Prout pulled his anchor and pointed his bow southeast. Hours of darkness still remained—dawn came late on the Bering Sea in February. Captain Prout stayed in the wheelhouse, drinking coffee with his son and looking out at the icy night, as the Silver Spray churned along. >click to read<20:06

Podcast: “F/V Destination, Do You Copy?”

It was the kind of disaster that wasn’t supposed to happen anymore. On February 11, 2017, the fishing vessel Destination disappeared in the Bering Sea on its way to the crab grounds. The boat went missing with an experienced crew, in unremarkable weather conditions, yet there was no mayday and rescue crews could find no life raft or survivors. For the past year, reporter Stephanie May Joyce has been following the investigation into what went wrong, and how this mysterious tragedy has changed Alaskan fishing. >click to listen<18:01

‘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 – 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

Lost Seattle-based crab-boat crew memorialized

The owner of the Destination, the crab boat that went missing Feb. 11, said he had full confidence in the skills of the six lost crew, and that his own son was initially supposed to be part of that Bering Sea harvest. “I have had a lot of sorrow in life but nothing like this,” wrote David Wilson, of Edmonds, in remarks read at a Thursday afternoon memorial service for the six lost crew. “God only knows why something like this happens because I don’t know why these good men went down at sea. … The pain will never go away. Even though these men are gone, their memory will live on forever.” Several hundred people attended the service for the six crew members: Capt. Jeff Hathaway, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, Charles G. Jones and Kai Hamik. It was held at the Aurora Community Church of the Nazarene in Shoreline and was a celebration of their lives that included poetry and musical performances. continue reading the story here 13:03