Coast Guard suspends search for Seattle-based crab boat in Bering Sea

The 98-foot F/V Destination motors through the Lake Washington Ship Canal. (Photo courtesy of the Seattle Times and Salty Dog Maritime Maritime Marketing.)

United States Coast Guard aircrews spotted a debris field, life ring, tarps and an oil sheen from the general area of an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon alert alert sent out by the crab fishing vessel Destination, but nothing else.

On Monday night, they suspended the search for the boat and its six crewmembers northwest of St. George, Alaska.

Watchstanders from Coast Guard 17th District received the EPIRB alert from F/V Destination early Saturday morning and deployed the Kodiak aircrews to commence the search.

The aircrews located the debris field in the general area of the EPIRB alert and the search continued through Saturday, Sunday and Monday before being called off. 

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the six crewmembers during this extremely difficult time,” said Rear Adm. Michael McAllister, Coast Guard 17th District commander. “The decision to suspend a search is always difficult and is made with great care and consideration.”

The watchstanders at the 17th District Command Center in Juneau coordinated 21 searches, totaling more than 69 aircraft and surface hours and covering approximately 5,730 square nautical miles.

“I’d like to thank the volunteers on St. George Island who conducted shoreline searches and the crewmembers of the fishing vessels Bering Rose and Silver Spray for helping with the search efforts,” McAllister said.

Assets involved in the search for the six mariners aboard the Destination included two HC-130 Hercules airplanes, two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and one MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak; Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau, a 378-foot high endurance cutter homeported in Honolulu, Hawaii; and around-the-clock watchstanders in the 17th District command center coordinating the search and communications.

Based in Seattle, a memorial at Fisherman’s Terminal came together on Monday to pay tribute to the crew of Destination.

What exactly happened to F/V Destination remains unclear and the USCG said that the cause of the incident remains under investigation.

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