Investigation into loss of Alaska fishing boat

The US Coast Guard has launched a Marine Board of Investigation into the loss of fishing boat Scandies Rose in the Gulf of Alaska during the evening of December 31st 2019. The National Transportation Safety Board had already announced an investigation, which will run in parallel.

Scandies Rose was under way off Sutwik Island, heading west to start the Bering Sea crabbing season. At 22:00 she listed and quickly sank. Five of her seven crew members were lost, including the captain.

Incident survivor Dean Gribble said that the vessel sank about 10 minutes after she took on a sudden and unusual list. The captain made a mayday call, which was received by USCG Air Station Kodiak. Gribble got into his immersion suit after a struggle with the zipper, and passed out suits to the rest. He was still calling to them to get out of the deckhouse when the vessel went down. Gribble and crewmate John Lawler managed to get to a liferaft that popped up from the sinking boat, and they waited in the raft for a Coast Guard helicopter to reach them.

The cause of the casualty was under investigation, but the marine forecast for the waters off Sutwik Island that night called for heavy freezing spray. One possibility being considered was that crab pots stacked on deck could have loaded up with increasing amounts of ice, potentially leading to a capsize.