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NOAA locates wreckage of crab fishing vessel off St. George Island, Alaska

July 20, 2017

Two NOAA ships, en route to scientific missions in Alaskan waters, helped locate the missing fishing vessel Destination at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation. The Destination and its six crew members were lost February 11, 2017, while fishing for snow crab northwest of St. George, Alaska.

NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson, a fisheries survey vessel, conducted the first survey from April 30 through May 1. The Dyson used 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 as the Destination, it did narrow the search area.

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

A 3-D image from NOAA Ship Fairweather multi-beam sonar. The profile of the F/V 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 and rudder.
A 3-D image from NOAA Ship Fairweather multi-beam sonar. The profile of the F/V 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 and rudder. (NOAA)

With the wreckage and debris field located by NOAA ships, a U.S. Coast Guard dive team aboard Coast Guard Cutter Healy will 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 August 7-18 in Seattle.  

“The Marine Board appreciates NOAA’s help in locating the wreckage of the F/V Destination,” said Cmdr. 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 ofOscar Dyson and Fairweather were honored to assist the Coast Guard in this investigation,” said Capt. 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.”

NOAA and the Coast Guard have a long history of collaboration, underscored by their shared mission to promote safety at sea. The unique capabilities of NOAA research and survey ships have been instrumental in assisting marine accident investigations, involving both vessels and aircraft.

 

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