Coast Guard: Arctic Rose sank quickly with door open

Posted: Friday, January 09, 2004

SEATTLE - Simply keeping a back door closed would likely have saved the Arctic Rose, a fishing vessel that sank in the Bering Sea nearly three years ago, killing all 15 people on board, a Coast Guard report concluded Thursday.

But the ill-trained, inexperienced crew frequently tied the door open to let some fresh air into the boat's fish-processing area, investigators said.

Most likely, that door was open early on the morning of April 2, 2001, and 20-foot waves began crashing through it. The water flowed through another open door into the galley, then down another hatch into the engine room, and within about four minutes, the Arctic Rose was gone - the worst U.S. fishing disaster in 50 years.

The Coast Guard report, which followed an investigation of more than two years and a grant of immunity to the vessel's owner, made numerous recommendations for trying to prevent similar accidents in the future.

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