Marine Board of Investigation hearing into Alaska Ranger sinking concludes

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard (USCG) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Marine Board of Investigation into the March 23 sinking of the Alaska Ranger wrapped up its sessions here today in the San Juan-Whidbey Room of the Red Lion Hotel at 1415 5th Ave.

The board heard testimony from Ken Lane, Albert Larson and Rodney Lundy.

Ken Lane, executive vice president of the Elliot Bay Design Group, participated in an incline experiment performed on the Alaska Ranger in 2005. Lane saw no discrepancies at the time of the experiment, and did not question the watertight integrity of the vessel.

Albert Larson, First Mate of the Fishing Company of Alaska-owned fishing vessel Alaska Spirit, was underway from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on March 23. Larson spoke with David Silvera, First Mate of the Alaska Ranger, at about 2:40 p.m. Silvera calmly told Larson the vessel was taking on water in the rudder room and requested that Larson make way toward the Alaska Ranger and call the Coast Guard. He later learned that the vessel had lost power and overheard the order to abandon ship.

Rodney Lundy, a survivor and assistant engineer aboard the Alaska Ranger who had testified twice before, was recalled to answer new questions about the vessel’s trip to Japan and the day it sank. Lundy told the board about welding and other work done aboard the vessel. According to his testimony, the ballast tanks were all in good working order. He also identified and explained areas of the vessel from photographs submitted into evidence. Lundy admitted to occasional drinking of alcohol aboard the vessel, but gave no indication he had been drinking the day of the accident.

The board will adjourn until it can set a time to interview any final witnesses. The boards findings will be made public once a cause for the sinking has been determined.

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