The U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation released a report and Final Action Memo on the February 2017 sinking of the 98-foot crabber Destination and the deaths of six crew members.
The 138-page Coast Guard report comes to conclusions similar to the National Transportation Safety Board’s accident brief released in July 2018.
The report claims that unsafe stability conditions resulting from the carriage of heavier crab pots that exceeded the weight used in the stability instructions, additional weight and stability stress from bait loaded high on the vessel, excessive ice accumulations from freezing spray, and downflooding from the open No. 3 hold access hatch were the primary factors that led to the capsizing of the boat.
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“The loss of the Destination with six persons aboard was a tragic and preventable accident,” wrote Rear Admiral J. P. Madeau in the report. “I offer my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the mariners whose lives were lost.”
The report recommended that Coast Guard leadership conduct a targeted oversight audit on all commercial fishing vessels subject to the relevant stability requirements, but Commandant Rear Adm. John P. Nadeau disagreed.
“There is not sufficient evidence in this report to conclude additional oversight is needed across the entire fleet of commercial fishing vessels,” he wrote.
“We know nothing in our report will bring back these six men, but we hope that we can prevent another tragedy like this from happening again,” said Capt. Lee Boone, chief of Coast Guard Investigations.
The report indicates that the boat owner, David Wilson, failed to provide the captain with accurate information to maintain the stability of the vessel following the installation of the bulbous bow, the new bulwark at the bow, and the use of heavier crab pots. The Coast Guard recommended civil penalties.
Capt. Jeff Hathaway and crew members — Kai Hamik, Darrik Seibold, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler and Charles G. Jones were lost with the boat. The Destination’s sinking was the fleet’s deadliest accident since 2005.