Searchers Locate FV Destination Wreck in Bering Sea

File photo for the FV Destination. Photo: Capt. Casey McManus

Update: NTSB Says Icing Caused Fatal Sinking of FV Destination in Bering Sea

Searchers have located that the wreck of the missing fishing vessel Destination which sank in the Bering Sea in February with the loss of all six crew members. 

The Destination and its six crew members were lost February 11, 2017, while fishing for Opilio crab (snow crab) northwest of St. George, Alaska, a small and remote island in the Bering Sea with a population of only about 100 people.

During the search for the Destination, the Coast Guard located the vessel’s transmitting EPIRB and found a life ring, buoys, tarps and an oil sheen in the vicinity of the EPIRB. The Coast Guard eventually suspended after three days and covering 5,730 square nautical miles off St. George. 

The wreckage was located in July with the help of two NOAA ships at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation, which is investigating the loss.

Another NOAA ship, the Oscar Dyson, a fisheries survey vessel, conducted the first survey from April 30 through May 1 using its multibeam echo sounder to search the area around the last known position of the Destination. While the ship was not able to positively identify any contacts, it did narrow the search area.

A second survey by the NOAA ship Fairweather, a hydrographic survey vessel, was conducted on July 8 and 9 and successfully located the Destination in approximately 250 feet of water. The ship used its multibeam sonar, designed for seafloor mapping and object detection, to locate the wreck.

In this 3-D image from NOAA Ship Fairweather’s multi-beam sonar, the profile of the FV Destination is clearly visible, including the bulbous bow to the right, the forward house and mast, equipment (likely crab pots) stacked amidships, the deck crane aft, and the skeg rudder. Credit: NOAA

With the wreckage and debris field located, a U.S. Coast Guard dive team aboard Coast Guard Cutter Healy is expected to use a remotely operated vehicle to investigate the wreckage later this month.

Imagery from the ROV will provide visual confirmation of the wreck site and become part of the Coast Guard’s Marine Board of Investigation, which holds its public hearing in August in Seattle.

“The Marine Board appreciates NOAA’s help in locating the wreckage of the F/V Destination,” said Commander Scott Muller, U.S. Coast Guard, chairman of the Marine Board of Investigation. “The vessel location is an instrumental piece of our investigation. We have a long partnership with NOAA to support the safety of those on the sea and appreciate their assistance in this and past investigations.”

“The crew and officers of Oscar Dyson and Fairweather were honored to assist the Coast Guard in this investigation,” said Captain Keith Roberts, NOAA Corps, commanding officer of NOAA’s Marine Operations Center – Pacific. “Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those lost aboard the Destination.”