Alaska Recent Maritime Losses 1972-2009

This area of this site is to remember those lost in the waters of Alaska in modern times.  Many of us lost friends and family in the past few decades.  I have attempted to recount those losses.  For those of you who have provided information, pictures and lists I am grateful.  A special thanks to Marine Historian Michael Burwell for allowing me access to his vast accumulation of important maritime information.  Please feel free to add to the entries where you can, and remember those we lost with a kind word.  Click on the following year links to see the losses for each year.  These are only the shipwrecks involving loss of life, there were many more vessel losses where the crew survived.  Those are posted in other areas of this site.  Thanks and smooth sailing…

Captain Warren Good

(1972)   (1973)   (1974)   (1975)   (1976)   (1977)   (1978)   (1979)   (1980)   (1981)   (1982)  (1983)   (1984)   (1985)   (1986)   (1987)   (1988)   (1989)   (1990)   (1991)   (1992)   (1993)   (1994)   (1995)   (1996)   (1997)   (1998)   (1999)   (2000)   (2001)   (2002)   (2003)   (2004)   (2005)   (2006)   (2007)   (2008)   (2009)

38 Responses to Alaska Recent Maritime Losses 1972-2009

  1. Kim says:

    Hello,
    I am not sure if you can help me…. however I found part of an article on the boat that my Uncle went down on in February 1975 the 20th … anyway….. I was hoping that you may have a picture of this boat…. or coast guard search records…..
    My uncle was Jim Rich…… I am working on a family history project, My uncle was a very very important part of my life….. he took me on this boat while it was docked here in seattle…. so that I would know that he had a bed : ) i was just a kid then and was so concerned that he wouldn’t have anywere to sleep….. Ok… not that you really wanted all this info… : ) with that said….. if there is any other informattion that you know of ..I would be so appreciative
    Sincerely,
    Kim

    • captaingood says:

      I remember very well the night your Uncle was lost. I was in town (Kodiak) and can still hear the clanging of buoys heading out toward Hanin Rocks where the boat broke up.The boat was the Marten and a guy named Jeff Alexander was the sole survivor. It was a nasty snow storm that night and seas were awful. Sorry about your Uncle Jim…I probably would recognize him if I saw a picture. I’ll dig around and see if I can locate a picture of the boat.

      • Kim says:

        Thank you so much for your response …. and yes that was the boat as well as the skipper that survived……there are many conflicting stories about what actually happened that night….. there is a picture of you in your early days of fishing i was so hoping to find one of my uncle that someone may have taken of him then….as whatever personal items that he had with hom were also lost….thank you again and for your condolences …. and may i extend the same to
        you for the ones you have lost as well …
        Sincerely,
        Kim

        you…for those that you have lost as well

        • captaingood says:

          Kim, I have found someone who has a piece of artwork that your Uncle Jim sold them shortly before he was lost on the Marten. It is a mobile that he made from pieces of driftwood and beads that his Grandmother had collected over the years. I believe that would make her your Great Grandmother. The folks had a shop in Kodiak called the Crosswinds where they displayed your Uncle Jim’s mobile the years that they were in business. They now have the piece hanging in their home where they retired in Texas. I will contact you by email to give you the phone number to call to contact them about it. Hope I have been helpful…

          • captaingood says:

            Kim, I have posted a photo of the Marten on the fishing losses of 1975 page. It was sent courtesy of one of the daughters of the owner of the Marten; now deceased. The daughters were very young when the boat was lost and remember the sadness.

            • Andy says:

              Wow, I’m so glad I found this page first while digging around looking for information regarding the Marten. I also had an uncle (Don McIlrath) that had worked on the same boat but had been sent back to Seattle due to an head injury and did not return because family concern. He never returned to Alaska, but I have lived here for a while and happen to work where there are many pictures of shipwrecks. I also have many questions because I am recording them all. For starts Epson,Martel Let’s chat!

              • captaingood says:

                I was in Kodiak when the Marten was lost and knew some of the people involved. It was early in my commercial fishing career. I don’t have any records that I can find with the names Epson or Martel. Are they boat names?

    • Tim Johnson says:

      I knew all of the crew. Mike Rowe was one of my best friends. Jeff Alexander and Jim Rich had been at my house a time or two. Also Deer, who I seem to remember was from eastern Europe somewhere – maybe Albania. Mike was English. I remember Jeff (who is gone now too) as a big guy with fair curly hair and Jim as having dark hair and a beard. Deer was shorter. I lived on Spruce Cape at the time of the sinking and my house may have been just a mile from where they were lost. God bless them all. God bless all of us. I too worked a bit as a deck hand and it could have been any of us.

  2. Kim says:

    Warren, thank you again so much….. and please extend my thank-you to the daughter’s as well….. I know this kind of thing is very difficult for many……
    Kim

  3. Great job with the site i was wondering if you had a picture of the Vestfjord the Crabber which vanished with 6 crew on the 29th of January 1989

    • captaingood says:

      1989 was a rough year all the way around. I don’t have photos for alot of the losses but hope to get some that I can publish as time goes on. The people on alaska fishermen rip on facebook have been helpful sending in pictures with an “OK to publish”. I am members in some other Kodiak Fishermen groups that help as well. I will see what I can do.

  4. Jim Moore says:

    hi not sure if you can help me or not but back in the 1976 or 77 my brothers boat that he was working on went missing with no trace of anything ever being found but my question is can you find the name of the boat (pic if there is one ) any news articles, CG reports any thing bout the wreck i have no info at all on what happened has it ever been found, if you can help i would be so thankfull or point me to the right people to help

    Thank you for or time
    Jim Moore

    • captaingood says:

      It shouldn’t be difficult to find more information. We were loosing about 40 vessels a year back during the 1970’s and a few each year were lost with little or no explanation. I will email you and we can track down what you want. I expect your Brother would be glad you are thinking of him. RIP

  5. Jim Moore says:

    thank for your help it been so long since it happened just hoping something can be found, i replied to your email, thank you again

    • captaingood says:

      The boat your brother was on was the Hellion. They went missing while hauling gear after King Crab season on November 23, 1979. I was there working on the Elizabeth F in the same area. I have sent you the Seattle Times story with the particulars to your email address. RIP Aaron Going, Ron Hoffman and Walt Laughead.

  6. Ken Wittekiend says:

    I am trying to find information about a crane barge on the beach near Yakataga. We landed on the beach nearby last summer and took photos. I’ve tried searching the internet with little success. I believe there were four barges that broke loose in a storm and the others may have been salvaged. Any information would be appreciated.

    • captaingood says:

      The best research tool for finding information about lost vessels is my book ALASKA SHIPWRECKS in digital format. You can purchase a copy on this site in the bookstore in pdf format or you can get one at Amazon in Kindle format. That being said, I did a word search in the book for “Yakataga” and came up with 9 hits describing wrecks there. The only barge is the Yakutat lost September 14, 1979. A young lady on board clung to wreckage and survived, but two men were lost. The particulars can be looked up in the A-Z section of this site. There have been a number of barges lost along the Gulf, some of which were never accounted for. If you word search “barge” in “ALASKA SHIPWRECKS” there are 432 results starting in 1898 all the way to recent times. The length and material of construction would be helpful in researching what you took pictures of. Also any other land feature description, even if it is the direction from Yakataga. You can send me a picture to alaskashipwreck@aol.com and maybe I can figure it out from that. Thank you for visiting this site. Captain Good

  7. Mark Soper says:

    I lost my uncle to the sea in 1985 in northern cailf. All hands. I canot find any records anywhere on this event. The boat was the Crescent Lady… Cptn Richard Senger out of Humbolt Bay. Lost somewhere around Half Moon Bay. How can I find records of this event?

    • captaingood says:

      Sorry for your loss Mark. I couldn’t find anything in my archives, but they are mostly from wrecks further north than California. Your best bet would be to call the libraries near the Crescent Lady’s home port or near where she was lost. Find out if they have the newspapers from 1985. They usually have the originals or have them on microfilm. Some even have them digitized. Sometimes they will look up the event for you, but often you have to go there yourself and research it. Also the U S Coast Guard in that area would have records. Many records are being digitized and available on the internet through mostly Ancestry research sites. I checked for your Uncles name and the name of the boat at one of the larger ones (Geneology Bank) and wasn’t successful. Eventually they will be available.

  8. Michele Shanklin says:

    My husbands cousin was reported drowned from a boat in Alaska. The family wasn’t really close, but I’d still like him to be remembered. I didn’t see his name in any of your lists. His last name was Brauchli, I believe his first name was Andrew. It was sometime between 1985 and 2000 I believe. Even if his death was one of the alcohol related incidents or whatever, we would still like to know more. Thank you.

    • captaingood says:

      Thank you for posting Michele. I have not found any record of your husband’s cousin but I will keep looking. We were losing many boats and crewmembers during the period you have described. The boom years of the crab industry were winding down and the joint venture fishing industry was becoming popular catching fish with trawls. Pollack, cod, mackerel, flounder and sole were being delivered to Japanese, Korean, Russian and other foreign processing ships. I was still active during most of those years and may have met Andrew. Do you have any idea of the fishery or vessel that he was involved in? A home port would be helpful as well. We will not forget him.

  9. Chris says:

    Hello, does anybody know anything..anything..about the fishing vessel American Star*?
    Burned in January of 2000…I feel sorry,it was a nice vessel,and I wish to know more about her.

    • captaingood says:

      The American Star was built in 1971 of steel, Length 93.6, Breadth 29, Depth 9, tonnage 191 gross, 132 net, call sign WYZ5579, Official Number D535675. She was lost January 29, 1990 on Otter Island in the Pribilofs. Her crew of 6 was rescued by a U S Coast Guard helicopter. I am not sure if any salvage was attempted. The only salvage operation in the area at the time was Magone Marine. Dan Magone sold the business recently but may still be around Dutch Harbor as an advisor. He would know.

      • Dylan says:

        American star was owned by roger overa. Eric Anderson, Ryan westerndorf and buster the black lad were the only people I know that were on that one.

        • captaingood says:

          Thanks Dylan. I will be adding in more modern wrecks and updating this site later this year. I was waiting for the Coast Guard findings on the Destination before posting it on here. Sorry for your loss. I have the Incident Reports from the Coast Guard and news releases on file for the American Star. Those reports state that skipper Roger Overa, 47; John Aure, 38; Eric Anderson, 38; and Ryan Westendorf, 22, all of Seattle; and Dan Staat, 38, from Moses Lake, Wash. were all rescued, along with a dog. It has taken me five or six years just to get the names of the 3,700 boats I have posted on here. I am now trying to go back and add in the new wrecks of the past 10 years and then additional information I have on all the ones I have posted. In addition to the research I am doing, my friend and associate Michael Burwell is sending me information about Alaska Shipwrecks faster than I can get it posted or published.

  10. Kim says:

    Tim,
    Thank you for your note, is nice to know that my Uncle Jimmy ( who I adored) had friends up there. He was at your house? Yes, my Uncle had Dark hair very tall with a beard…..Just hearing about him, brings a smile… Thank you
    Kim

    • Tim Johnson says:

      You’re welcome Kim

      It’s my pleasure and privilege to share.

      I’ve heard from Jeff Alexander’s nephew and daughter also. In fact my wife ran into Jeff’s nephew at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, where we live now. Small world, yes?

      regards
      – tim –

  11. Starr August says:

    I would like to know any information on the ‘Pacific Trawler’ , which sank in 1982.
    My father owned this ship for many years, and at one time it was quite famous.
    I believed he owned the ship from 1955 until 1970 or so, and I’d like to know whatever I can about it.
    Thank you for your help.
    Starr August

    • captaingood says:

      The PACIFIC TRAWLER was built in 1944 for the U S Navy at Whitestone New York as subchaser PCS-1382. After the WWII she was sold by the Navy and in 1955 was registered as the TUNA SHARK owned by Bernard M Reaves of San Francisco. From 1957 to 1960 she was owned by David Willard of San Francisco. From 1962 to 1963 she was owned by Wilepa Ocean Products of San Francisco and was renamed PACIFIC TRAWLER. In 1964 she was purchased by Louis Cecchi of Redwood City, California and registered at Juneau. In 1979 the PACIFIC TRAWLER was owned by Archie G Jorgensen and home ported in Juneau. She caught fire and sank in Prince William Sound near LaTouche Island July 23, 1982. I took a picture of this vessel in 1975 from the deck of one of the Alaska Marine Ferry System vessels as we traveled south and the PACIFIC TRAWLER was traveling north with a deck load of crab pots. I will email it to you. I hope this information is helpful.

  12. chris says:

    I found on a site something about the rescue of American Star, that it is featured in a discovery channel film.They intentionally sunk her in 2002, due to the lack of a buyer.
    If you watch deadliest catch season 1, at some point Sig starts talking about the St.Patrick, and her story.When they say she didn’t actually sank after the crew abandoned ship, if you look closely they show American Star without it’s wheelhouse, being towed away to Dutch Harbor.I have the screenshot of it but I can’t upload the picture…it’s pretty strange, hope you can help me find that Documentary,by the way, Dan Magone pulled her off the beach.

  13. Edward Festor says:

    Hello.
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?144556-HI-Hauula-quot-Barnacle-Bill-quot-UP6909-19-25-SCUBA-Diver-Suit-Bought-In-Tacoma-Nov-82
    I need your help. This is a link to the case of an unidentified body washed up in Hauula, Hawaii in November 1982. The remains were covered in marine growth, and he was wearing a Bayley exposure suit, which seems to have been mistaken for a dive suit. Given the length of time he must have been in the water, he could have gone overboard or abandoned ship in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest. The suit was bought in Tacoma.

    This fellow may have had his left arm amputated at some time prior to his death. He was about 5’9″ and may have had brown hair.
    Anyone know who he may have been?
    Thanks, Ed

    • captaingood says:

      I was aware of the body found in 1982 in a Bayley Survival Suit but not that the lost arm was the result of an amputation. It could have been an accident suffered in a shipwreck prior to entry into the immersion suit. I hadn’t heard if an autopsy had been conducted or if any forensic evidence was still available. Do you know if there are any photographs of the remains? Any hair or other organics saved? The size and type of barnacles that were found on the decedent would have been an indication of the length of the drift. We lost many people back during the period prior to this body washing up on the beach in Hawaii. It takes about two years for a body to drift from Alaskan waters to Hawaiian waters. There were dozens of mariners lost in Alaskan waters that could have been the one found. The most notable mysteries that correspond with the drift time required were the 60 foot crab fishing vessel Hellion which disappeared near Unimak Pass November 23, 1979 with three fishermen aboard, the crab fishing vessel Norel disappeared March 17, 1980 in the Gulf of Alaska with three crewmembers aboard and the 75 foot trawler Commander disappeared in the Gulf of Alaska November 19, 1980 with four crewmen aboard.

      • captaingood says:

        Also the person found in the Bayley suit in Hawaii was a young male in their 20’s wearing blue jean shorts which is something that is unlikely in the Alaska Fleet.

  14. Edward Festor says:

    Thanks so much for your prompt reply, Captain.

    I attach a link to more info on the case. Apparently there was not a sufficient sample to get good DNA, and samples were not preserved. I am betting they said that the amputation was possibly antemortem due to new bone growth but I don’t know.
    I agree that the blue jean shorts sound like a warmer climate than Alaska but given the currents that is the farthest origination point that made sense so we start there.
    The exposure suit was purchased in Tacoma, making that area more likely. The suit was made in 1979 and he washed up in late 82, so there is a known interval of time for the accident. I have not seen an estimate for the length of time he was in the water. I have not seen any photographs of the remains but if they turn up I will share them.
    With no print, no DNA, and incomplete dentals, the best chance of identification is probably the suit.
    https://identifyus.org/cases/full_report/6909

    • captaingood says:

      I am going to leave these links on here so anyone who reads this can follow up. Also for understanding how a mariner lost in Alaska can end up in Hawaii I would recommend looking up the story of the Hansa Carrier container ship accident of 1990. Briefly, a storm in the southern waters of Alaska knocked a group of containers into the North Pacific and some broke open. They were full of Nike Trainers and Boots. The footwear entered the currents in the southern Alaska Stream and some transferred into the northern “Japanese Current”. Eight months later the shoes began showing up on beaches on Vancouver Island and subsequently down the coast to Washington and Oregon. Two years later they began showing up in Hawaii. The entire drift activity was monitored by scientists to better understand the surface drift patterns of the North Pacific.

  15. Laura Osborne says:

    Hello,
    We have a really neat old black and white picture of a boat called Deep Sea. I have been told that my father her in law took the picture in the 60’s around Valdez. I found on your site where a boat called the Deep Sea was lost on August 26, 1976 and I wonder if the picture I have is of that boat where 8 people lost their lives. I am wondering if you might possibly have a picture of the Deep Sea. I would be happy to share the picture I have. Thank you!

    • captaingood says:

      I just glanced at my files and did not see a picture of the Deep Sea. I believe it used to be a cannery boat owned by the Wakefield Seafood Company back in the early days of fishing industries around Alaska. I am collecting pictures of boats that were lost and attempting to post them here on this site and another one on Facebook called Alaska Fishermen RIP. I am contacted regularly by people who lost family members or loved ones and want to see any photographs I have. Also people send me photographs so I can scan them in high resolution for posting. I would love to see the one you have. Thank you very much for offering to share your picture. I am traveling right now and in Texas. I will be back home in a few days. Smooth Sailing…Captain Warren Good

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