On Tuesday morning, a well-known Bering Sea crab vessel sank at a dock on the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle. F/V North American had partially sunk alongside a pier on the south side of the canal, which is east of the Ballard Bridge. According to the Maritime Executive, the Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received the call at 7:30 a.m.

F/V North American, well-known Bering Sea crab vessel sank at a dock on the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle. Photo by USCG

The 91-foot vessel was one of many to appear on the show Deadliest Catch as a guest role in Season 4. North American was run by Captain Sten Skaar.  

Upon the sinking of the F/V North American, Seattle Fire and other responders swiftly installed a containment boom around the vessel to prevent fuel pollution. A dive team immediately began work on plugging vents to reduce the risk of further fuel discharge. A second containment boom was also promptly installed to prevent any fuel slick from escaping. The Coast Guard reported that the North American can hold up to 32,500 gallons of diesel in its tanks, but the actual amount aboard the vessel at the time of the sinking may have been lower. Fortunately, there have been no reports of harm to wildlife at present.

Global Diving and Salvage, the pollution response contractor for the incident, will oversee the removal of any remaining fuel onboard the F/V North American and transfer it to storage tanks on shore. The Coast Guard, in their role of monitoring the progress of the response, is also conducting an investigation into the cause of the sinking.

The late Erling Skaar with the North American, a 108-foot crabber launched in 1975 that raised the bar for power, capability and operating efficiency. Photo by Brad Warren

When delivered to its first owner in 1975, North American was a Seattle-based pioneering vessel. Erling Skaar partnered with Ildhuso and the New England Fish Company to commission a new Marco crabber, which was North American. The vessel was initially outfitted with a Caterpillar 399, a 16-cylinder beast generating 1100 hp, a hundred more horsepower than most crabbers of that era. 

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Carli is a Content Specialist for National Fisherman. She comes from a fourth-generation fishing family off the coast of Maine. Her background consists of growing her own business within the marine community. She resides on one of the islands off the coast of Maine while also supporting the lobster community she grew up in.

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