Coast Guard investigators again headed for sunken ship

Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2001

UNALASKA (AP) -- Coast Guard investigators looking into the sinking of the Arctic Rose left Unalaska Monday night on another mission to photograph the sunken vessel.

The crew had originally been scheduled to leave Saturday aboard the chartered fishing vessel Ocean Explorer. The trip was delayed by bad weather. The remotely operated camera being used can't be operated in rough seas, Coast Guard spokeswoman Marshalena Delaney said.

''If they were on scene they wouldn't have been able to launch it,'' she said.

The Arctic Rose, a commercial fishing and processing vessel, sank in the Bering Sea April 2, killing all 15 men aboard. It was the worst U.S. commercial fishing disaster since 1951.

The investigators are expected to reach the site where the vessel sank by Wednesday night.

The Coast Guard found the Arctic Rose last month, sitting on the ocean floor, 775 miles southwest of Anchorage. A remotely operated camera was able to photograph the vessel briefly before it became tangled in lines and broke.

The Marine Board of Investigation planned this second trip to the site this month in an effort to gather more information. The board is trying to determine why the vessel sank without even enough time for the crew to issue a mayday call.

Families of the men killed when the Arctic Rose went down will be given an opportunity to view any pictures taken during this latest mission. The panel is expected to resume hearings into the sinking next week in Seattle.

The sinking of the Arctic Rose was the worst commercial fishing disaster off Alaska since 1982, when the Japanese trawler Akebono Maru capsized, killing 32. It was the worst U.S. commercial fishing disaster since 1951 when the Goodrun sank off the coast of New England, killing 15 fishermen.

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