On July 12, 2018, The National Transportation Safety Board issued a marine accident brief and a related safety alert, warning mariners of the dangers of icing following the agency’s investigation of the sinking of the fishing vessel Destination.
The 110-foot, 196-gross ton, fishing vessel Destination sank in the frigid waters of the Bering Sea, 2.6 miles northwest of St. George Island, Alaska, February 11, 2017. None of the six crew members aboard were found and are presumed to have perished in the accident.
While the exact nature of the accident is unknown because there were no survivors, no witnesses, and no mayday call from the Destination, evidence analyzed by the NTSB indicates the Destination quickly capsized and subsequently sank after an accumulation of ice on the vessel and its fishing gear after encountering forecasted heavy freezing spray conditions.
The NTSB’s Marine Accident Brief 18-14 states the probable cause for the sinking was the captain’s decision to proceed during heavy freezing spray conditions without ensuring the vessel had a margin of stability to withstand an accumulation of ice or without taking sufficient mitigating action to avoid or limit the effects of icing.
Said Brian Curtis, Director of the NTSB’s Office of Marine Safety:
“From tragedy the NTSB draws knowledge to improve the safety of us all, and the tragic loss of the crew of the Destination serves as a stark and somber reminder of the perilous conditions mariners can face during winter operations. Safety Alert 18-074 reminds mariners to prepare for icing conditions and the actions to take to maintain vessel stability when icing occurs.”
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.
Ed. Note: The NTSB safety alert was distributed to US agencies, including the US Coast Guard, to warn of ice accumulation dangers. While the source for this article is the National Transportation Safety Board, our first notification came via the Coast Guard on July 19, 2018.