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Fishing Vessel AMERICUS, O.N. 595758, Capsizing and Sinking -- Fishing Vessel ALTAIR, O.N. 618390, Disappearance on or about 14 February 1983 in the Bering Sea with Presumed Multiple Loss of Life

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Marine casualty rept.

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At 0230, February 14, 1983, the fishing vessel ALTAIR departed Dutch Harbor, Alaska enroute to the crab fishing grounds in the vicinity of the Pribilof Islands. The fishing vessel Americas followed six hours later. Both vessels were loaded with crab pots. A fishing vessel returning to Dutch Harbor from the Pribilofs made visual contact with the ALTAIR and passed within 150 yards at around 0330 approximately 20 miles northwest of Dutch Harbor. The next contact with the vessels was made by a freighter at 1510 February 14, 1983, when a capsized hull later identified as the AMERICUS was observed about 25 miles northwest of Dutch Harbor. The hull did not appear to have been damaged and continued to float until 1130 February 16, 1985. On March 16, 1983, an inflatable life raft from the ALTAIR was found at a location approximately 11 miles from where the AMERICUS hull was initially observed. This was and remains the only sighting from the ALTAIR. The seven-man crews from each vessel remain missing and are presumed dead. The observations of the AMERICUS in a capsized state with no apparent damage, the lack of distress signals from either vessel, the failure of the search effort to locate anyone in survival suits tend to support the conclusion that both vessels capsized rapidly and without warning. The Commandant has concurred with the Board that the proximate cause of these casualties is improper loading.

Subject Categories:

  • Marine Engineering
  • Safety Engineering

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