NTSB Concludes Investigation of F/V Katmai Sinking

The investigation into the sinking of the Fishing Vessel Katmai is officially over.

The National Transportation Safety Board released their report on the disaster, and it concluded that the boat had a number of stability problems that made it unable to withstand extreme storm conditions in the Bering Sea. As a result, seven lives were lost when the head-and-gut vessel flooded in 2008.

The marine accident brief stitches together testimony from the four survivors who were aboard the 73-foot boat. At the time of the sinking, the Katmai was traveling through Amchitka Pass, about 120 miles west of Adak. It was heading toward Unalaska with 120,000 pounds of frozen cod when a severe storm hit. The Katmai lost its ability to steer, and the boat started taking in water just before midnight on October 21, 2008. The skipper called for an evacuation of the boat shortly after that. One of the eleven crew members is believed to have gone down with the ship. Six others were lost when the two life rafts aboard rolled in rough seas. The four survivors were ultimately rescued by the Coast Guard over 15 hours after the sinking.

The National Transportation Safety Board came to many of the same conclusions that the Coast Guard reached during their investigation. They found that the probable cause of the sinking was that watertight doors were left open and that the vessel was carrying twice the recommended amount of cod.

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