Marine Board of Investigation Begins Interviewing Witnesses in Alaska Ranger Sinking

DUTCH HARBOR, Alaska –  The Marine Board of Investigation into the Alaska Ranger convened yesterday in the Shishaldin Room of the Grand Aleutian Hotel.Capt. Michael Rand, USCG, and Mr. Liam LaRue, NTSB, from the board gave statements as to the purpose of the investigation, their authority and the scope of the investigation. The recorder Lt. j.g. William Fitzgerald, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, swore in the board.

The first witness called was Capt. Scott Krey, master of the fishing vessel Alaska Warrior. The board questioned Krey for over an hour about the operations onboard the vessel, the material condition of the vessel, the safety measures and drills conducted onboard and his experiences during the response to the sinking of the Alaska Ranger and the rescue of its crew.

Krey said, “When we arrived on scene there were flashing lights everywhere – strobes, life rafts, individuals.” Krey stated that the helicopter was on scene pulling people out of the water and he recognized that the considerable sail area on the life rafts was causing them to be pushed south by the northwest winds. He said there were 10 people in the first raft and 12 in the second.

The board recessed to tour the Alaska Warrior with Krey as a guide. The board toured the bridge, processing plant (factory), engineering space, rudder room and trawl deck of the vessel.

Upon reconvening the board had additional questions for Krey and then called the Alaska Warriors First Mate Raymond Falante. Falante was directly responsible for pulling Alaska Ranger crewmembers from the water to safety. He detailed his experiences from time served on the Alaska Ranger and currently on the Alaska Warrior.

Falante made special mention of the Coast Guard crews by saying “I take my hat off to the Coast Guard.” He also stated that the life sling the crew of the Alaska Warrior used was an excellent tool to recover the crew.

The Coast Guard has convened an administrative investigation into the loss of an individual from the basket during the rescue.

The Alaska Ranger was enrolled in the Alternative Compliance and Safety Agreement Program for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Island Freezer Trawler and the Freezer Longliner fleet. An outline of the program’s purpose is available at: http://homeport.uscg.mil/mycg/portal/ep/editorialSearch.do

Related Posts

Comments are closed.