Alaska Ranger sinking investigation to continue Wednesday

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

The goal of the Marine Board is to identify the causal events of the casualty and provide recommendations to prevent or mitigate future casualties.

On Tuesday the board heard lengthy testimony from Mr. Bill McGill, who has extensive experience on board the Alaska Ranger as Captain and is currently the Operations Manager for the Fishing Company of Alaska, the ship’s owner. Mr. McGill provided details concerning design, construction, maintenance, and operations of the ship, as well as the safety training and lifesaving equipment available to the officers and crew. The testimony gave the members of the board great insight into the operation and condition of ship, insight that will be invaluable during the board’s analysis of the sinking and ensuing search and rescue efforts.

The hearing will continue at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the same location, and is open to the public and the media. The proceedings will not be broadcast on television, radio or conference call. Video recording devices including still cameras are prohibited for the duration of the hearing. Cell phones are prohibited at all times. The use of unobtrusive audio recording devices is permitted to document the proceedings.

A press conference is planned for Wednesday in the same location at 8 a.m. Press releases will be sent out during the hearings notifying media of conference and interview schedules.

The Board intends to take testimony from several survivors and a previous crewmember on Wednesday, April 16, 2008.

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