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The U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board on Friday concluded the formal public hearing to review and consider evidence related the loss of the commercial fishing vessel Scandies Rose. The hearing was conducted virtually via zoom.
The 130-foot crab fishing vessel Scandies Rose, homeported in Dutch Harbor, sank near Sutwik Island, Alaska at approximately 10 p.m. on Dec 31, 2019, with seven crew members aboard. Two were rescued, however five crew members weren’t recovered after a search that spanned over 20 hours, 1,400 square miles.
The loss of the fishing vessel marked the worst accident to hit Alaska’s commercial fishing industry since the sinking of the F/V Destination with the loss of all six crew members in February 2017.
Over the course of the 10-day hearing, the board heard from 43 witnesses who provided testimony into the conditions influencing the vessel prior to and at the time of the casualty. Testimony also focused on weather, icing, training fisheries, the Scandies Rose’s material condition, owner and operator organizational structures and culture, the regulatory compliance record of the vessel, Coast Guard policy, and practices related to vessel design, engineering and inspections.
In addition, 130 pieces of evidence were identified as exhibits of public record regarding the investigation, and they have been posted for the public to view.
“The public hearing is a crucial element of the investigation process,” explained Marine Board of Investigation Chairman Capt. Greg Callaghan, U.S. Coast Guard. “This hearing presented and confirmed many facts and details surrounding the events that led to the sinking of Scandies Rose and loss of five lives. The goal of this investigation is to improve any practice, procedure, policy or regulation that can prevent the loss of lives in the future. A lot of time and effort has been invested already and we have more work to do before this formal investigation is complete. To the members of the public, particularly those who e-mailed the Marine Board during the hearing, I thank you for sharing your time and thoughts during testimony; that information will be evaluated by the Board.”
The board is now set to compile its findings into a report of investigation which will be publicly released after the convening authority, the Commandant, evaluates the recommendations and releases a final action memo outlining the Coast Guard’s position on the Board’s recommendations.
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