US Coast Guard to hold virtual formal hearing on fatal crab boat sinking off Alaska

The crab fishing vessel Scandies Rose moored in Seattle, Washington, on June 7, 2019, six months before it was lost at sea off Sutwik Island, Alaska (Photo: US Coast Guard/Erling Jacobsen)

The US Coast Guard is scheduled to conduct a formal hearing to consider evidence related to the sinking of the crab fishing vessel Scandies Rose.

The hearing will take place at the Edmonds Center for the Arts in Edmond, Washington, beginning on February 22, 2021. However, due to Washington State Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, and out of an abundance of caution for the public, witnesses, and families, participation is limited and coordinated in advance.

To ensure public access and participation, the hearing will be streamed live each day at

The hearing will focus on the conditions influencing the vessel prior to and at the time of the casualty. This will include weather, icing, fisheries, Scandies Rose‘s material condition, owner and operator organisational structures and culture, the regulatory compliance record of the vessel, and testimony from the survivors and others.

Scandies Rose, homeported in Dutch Harbor, sank near Sutwik Island, Alaska, at approximately 22:00 local time on December 31, 2019.

Seven crew members were on board. Two were rescued and the remaining five crewmembers were not recovered after a search that spanned over 20 hours, 3,600 square kilometres, and included four MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews, two HC-130 Hercules airplane crews, and crew aboard the coast guard cutter Mellon.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is concurrently conducting an investigation of this marine accident and joins the coast guard in this fact-finding phase. The NTSB will analyse the facts to prepare and publish a separate report.

To promote the safety of life and property at sea and in the interest of the public, the coast guard deputy commandant for operations convened a Marine Board of Investigation under 46 CFR 4.09-1. Investigations of marine casualties and accidents, and the analysis and conclusions made from them, identify appropriate recommendations to promote safety and prevent future marine tragedies.

A formal Marine Board of Investigation is composed of a specially designated marine board chairman. Several specialists and technical experts were also designated to assist the board chairman in this complex investigation.

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