Commercial fishing vessel Katmai sank because her watertight door were left open, a possibly fatigued master decided to continue fishing despite the approach of bad weather and the vessel owner had failed to ensure that master had up to date stability information and understood how to use it, concludes an investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB.
Katmai, 28 metres, sank in bad weather in Bering Sea, more than 100 nautical miles west of Adak, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Seven of her 11 crew were lost.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the
sinking of the Katmai was the loss of the vessel’s watertight integrity because watertight doors from the main deck to the processing space and the lazarette were left open by the crew at a time when the vessel was overloaded and navigating in severe weather, which allowed water to enter the vessel resulting in progressive flooding and sinking.
Contributing to the accident was the master’s decision to continue fishing operations during the approach of severe weather rather than seeking shelter and to load twice the amount of cargo addressed in the vessel’s stability report. Also contributing to the accident was the owner’s failure to ensure that the stability information provided to the master was current and that the master understood it and operated the vessel accordingly.