Coast Guard holds heading on Katmai

Posted: Tuesday, November 04, 2008

SEATTLE - Several former crew members of a fishing vessel that sank in the Bering Sea, killing seven people, testified Monday about problems they observed aboard the Katmai. Three inspectors told a marine inquiry board they found no discrepancies when they looked at the boat.

The Seattle-owned Katmai went down Oct. 22 in a storm off Alaska's Aleutian Islands with the loss of seven of the 11 crewmen. Capt. Henry Blake III was one of the four crew members to be rescued from a life raft.

A former Katmai engineer, Phillip Stromstad, criticized some of Blake's decisions during Stromstad's time aboard the vessel in July. He also said Monday he felt the stability plan for the Katmai was in error and might cause the vessel to ride poorly in the water.

Monday's hearing was part of an ongoing investigation into the sinking of the 93-foot vessel. Survivors testified last week in Anchorage, Alaska. The marine board of investigation is comprised of both Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board members.

On Friday, members of the marine board looked at a vessel at Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal that was similar to the Katmai. The Miss Amy was built in the same year, with a similar design.

The marine board will examine its evidence and could reconvene at an unspecified future date, Coast Guard Petty Officer Shawn Eggert said.

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