Two rescued, five missing after Alaska crabbing vessel sinks

The Coast Guard suspended its 20-hour search for five missing crew members after the 130-foot crabbing vessel Scandies Rose sank around 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve near Sutwick Island off the Alaska Peninsula.

Two survivors from the crew of seven, identified as Dean Gribble Jr. and John Lawler, were rescued by a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, after watchstanders received a mayday call from the vessel, and relayed the call to the Kodiak search and rescue command center.

Missing are the Scandies Rose master, Gary Cobban Jr.; his son David Lee Cobban; Arthur Ganacias; Brock Rainey; and Seth Rousseau-Gano.

An HC-130 Hercules aircraft searched the area around the Scandies Rose last known position 170 miles southwest of Kodiak, where the helicopter crew hoisted the two survivors from a life raft. The Coast Guard cutter Mellon, a 378-foot Hamilton class cutter, was diverted from its Bering Sea mission to join the search. With four helicopters and two Hercules, the search spanned 1,400 square miles before being suspended Wednesday at 6:08 p.m. local time.

“The decision to suspend an active search and rescue case is never easy, and it’s only made after careful consideration of a myriad of factors,” Rear Adm. Matthew Bell, the Coast Guard 17th District commander, said in a statement Wednesday night. “Our deepest condolences to the friends and families impacted by this tragedy.”

Weather at the scene included winds in excess of 40 mph, 15- to 20-foot seas, and visibility of one mile.

Built in Alabama in 1978, the Scandies Rose was homeported at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and fished primarily in the Bering Sea, also serving as a tender vessel during salmon seasons in Bristol Bay and Southeast Alaska. 

About the author

Kirk Moore

Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been a field editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for almost 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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