Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2001

Submersible lost in Arctic Rose search

ABOARD THE OCEAN EXPLORER - Coast Guard investigators searching for the missing Arctic Rose got a brief view of the vessel Wednesday before the remotely operated vehicle transmitting pictures was lost at the bottom of the Bering Sea, alongside the sunken boat.

The cable controlling the camera-equipped vehicle got tangled in lines drifting from the sunken ship. The cable snapped and the $100,000 submersible was lost in 450 feet of water, said Richard Hansen, owner of Maritime Consultants, the Puyallup, Wash.-based shipwreck-hunting company that owned the remotely operated vehicle.

"It's just incredibly disappointing," Hansen said. "We have very little other than we know it's the Arctic Rose and we saw a few things. We were only able to do a small percentage of what our mission was."

No effort was being made to recover the remote vehicle.

The Arctic Rose sank suddenly in the Bering Sea on April 2, killing all 15 men on board. It was the worst fishing disaster in Alaska waters in nearly two decades. The Coast Guard team investigating the sinking had hoped to get a look at the 92-foot commercial fishing and processing vessel in order to learn why it sank.

Before it broke, the remote vehicle found no obvious signs of damage to the ship's hull.

It was not clear if the vessel's fishing nets were deployed at the time it sank and the images did not show whether its hatches, windows and watertight doors were damaged.

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