“Mayday, mayday, mayday. This is the Alaska Ranger. 5, 3, 5, 3 North, 1, 6, 9, 5, 8 West… We are flooding, taking on water in our rudder room.”
It was 2:52 am on March 23, Easter morning, when Coast Guard Station Kodiak picked up the distress call from a point almost 800 miles west, in Alaska’s frigid Bering Sea.
“Roger. Good copy on position… Request to know number onboard, over.”
After a static-filled pause, the answer came through loud and clear: “Number of persons: 47.”
Capt. Peter Jacobsen was in the crowded wheelhouse of the 189-ft. fishing vessel. When the trawler’s emergency alarm had first sounded about an hour before, crew members descended below decks to see water rising fast in the ship’s stern compartments. They had pulled out a pump, but the effort soon looked futile. Now Jacobsen, 65, a veteran captain who had been fishing in the Bering Sea for 23 years, was making calls to his ship’s sister vessels, repeating the coordinates of the Ranger’s position 120 miles west of the Aleutian Island port of Dutch Harbor.
by John Konrad (gCaptain) Yesterday Commandant Karl Schultz, in the annual State of the Coast Guard Address, outlined the US Coast Guard’s perseverance through a difficult year and highlighted recent...
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