The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a marine accident brief and a related safety alert Thursday, 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, Feb. 11, 2017. None of the six crewmembers aboard were found and are presumed to have perished in the accident.
No "Mayday" call
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.
"Perilous" conditions during winter
“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,” said Brian Curtis, Director of the NTSB’s Office of Marine Safety. “Safety Alert 18-074 reminds mariners to prepare for icing conditions and the actions to take to maintain vessel stability when icing occurs.”