Investigation into Scandies Rose sinking points to ice accumulation

The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the Scandies Rose sinking found neither captain nor crew were at fault, pointing instead to inaccurate vessel stability instructions that could have led to dangerous ice accumulation.

A large black boat
Approximately 43 separate witnesses, including the survivors, other professional mariners and officials from a number of government agencies, are scheduled to testify over the next two weeks in the sinking of the Scandies Rose. CREDIT COURTESY OF BRET NEWBAKER

The board voted on and accepted a series of other findings that were included in the report. Among them, that there were no issues with the conduct of captain or crew or problems with the vessel itself. The hearing looked closely at a series of welds made on the Scandies Rose, but the NTSB found they did not contribute to the sinking, either.

The NTSB also found that the ice accumulation on the F/V Scandies Rose likely would have been between 6 and 15 inches on the wind-facing side. This would have raised the boat’s center of gravity and lowered its stability, contributing to its capsizing.

RELATED: When the Scandies Rose sunk west of Kodiak, he survived. Now he’s grappling with losing his crewmates.

The report says that while the crew followed stability instructions while loading the vessel, the instructions were inaccurate and left the Scandies Rose outside of regulatory stability requirements.

The board also called for an oversight program to audit stability instructions for uninspected commercial fishing vessels that are not required to carry a load line certificate. For now, that’s just a recommendation to the Coast Guard.

The report also stated “the National Weather Service cannot accurately forecast the more extreme localized wind and sea conditions for the area, which can lead to vessels encountering conditions that are worse than expected.”

The NTSB also recommended that NOAA increase surface observation resources for the Sutwik Island and Chignik Bay region.