Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 1980

January 15, 1980     The 110 foot crabber Gemini iced up, rolled over and sank 150 miles south southeast of Cold Bay on the way to Dutch Harbor from Seattle. Crewmen Eric Mills, Mark McKinnin and Wayne Sheuffele were rescued from a life raft after more than four days in 20 foot seas.  Captain Roy O’Harrow and Steve Holden were lost with the Gemini.

January 22, 1980     The 40 foot vessel Deliverance overturned and sank off of Marmot Island with David Dowie as the sole survivor.  Lost were Charles Cochran and Butch Miller.

February 4, 1980     The 110 foot Pacific Trader rolled over and sank north of Unimak Island in the Bering Sea.  Crewmen Greg Schubauer and Jack Sulbroce were picked up by the Provider. Lost were captain Ben Paz, Ken Morse and Carry Commack.

February 26, 1980     Professional diver Dennis LeCours was lost while diving on the vessel Mariner at the Channel Transient Float in Kodiak.

March 17, 1980     The crab fishing vessel Norel disappeared with all hands.  The vessel was presumed to have foundered near Cape Saint Elias.  Lost were Joseph Gursky, Roseanna Nasello and John Estrada.

March 29, 1980     Scott Pickering of Seattle was the sole survivor when the 85 foot Capella overturned suddenly while anchored off Fox Island south of Cold Bay.  Lost were captain Finney Berg, Auggie Berg, Jack Fink and Bob Conley.  The vessel had been holed on the rocks two days earlier and been towed to an anchorage by the tanker Alaska Standard.

April 2, 1980     Captain Rick Laws was the lone survivor when the 60 foot Cloverleaf rolled over and sank  near Sutwick Island, 150 miles SW of Kodiak Island.  The vessel was on a trip from Kodiak to Chignik.  Lost were Wink Cissell and Kim Hanlin.

May 19, 1980     The fishing vessel Francis K was lost with all four crewmembers 25 miles southeast of Yakutat.

June 14, 1980     Skipper Cory Kaldestad (62)  was lost when the fishing vessel Michael Lee foundered near Clarks Point in Nushagak Bay.  Four others were rescued by the Soviet processing ship Soyuz V.

July 31, 1980    Fishermen Jeff Deirich, Carl Carlson, Les Russel and Steve Alvine were lost in a plane crash near Spiridon Lake on Kodiak Island.

August 11, 1980     The fishing vessel King James was found abandoned near the Seal Bar marker near Egg Island on the Copper River Delta with one crewman lost.

September 21, 1980     Crewmember John Luke Challik of Kodiak was washed overboard and lost off of the Polar Sea 110 miles N of Akutan.

October 16, 1980     Skipper Hector Allan of the vessel Debbie Wines fell overboard and was lost near Old Harbor.

November 19, 1980     Three crewmembers were lost when the Japanese fishing vessel Tomi Maru No 52 sank after a collision with the Japanese fishing vessel Tomi Maru No 51 approximately 100 miles west of Adak Island in the Aleutians.

November 19, 1980     The 82 foot Commander was lost with all hands on a trip from Kodiak to Seattle.  She was last seen 30 miles off of Cape Spencer heading into 30-35 foot swells and 80 knot winds. Lost were Phil Edwards Sr, Phil Edwards Jr, John Edwards and Sam Bissett.

November 22, 1980     Crewman Robert Laceon from the vessel Taasinge was lost and is believed to have fallen overboard near Yakutat Bay.

8 Responses to Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 1980

  1. Capt. Chris Gundersen says:

    Captain Good, R/E the Capella March 29, 1980. Ogie Berg was the Captain, Finney Berg, his older brother. They were family friends of my late father. The owner of the vessel, was Peter Evich, he was also our Marine Insurance Agent. I saw the vessel in Everett a couple of years earlier (I stopped in to have my shrimp outrigger fixed). It looked like it was being worked on at the time. I remember Peter telling me of his vessel, and looking for someone to run it. Don’t really know how they hooked up. The former owner(Mr. Sjodin, ), had inquired after my Step-Father(Arvid Svendsen, an experienced Longline Fisherman) a few years earlier before Peter bought the vessel

    • captaingood says:

      I have several newspaper stories about the loss of the Capella but they are inaccurate and the story of what actually happened is not clear. Apparently the tanker American Standard was assisting the Capella when she was lost. It sounded like the tanker had anchored in rough weather and the Capella had a line tethered to her. The news says Ogie Berg was the owner which is not correct; as you said, Peter E Evich of Edmonds, WA was. Also the news has the vessel length once as 45 feet and another time as 100 feet. Her registered length was 72 feet. I see I have that wrong in my records and will correct it. I can recall seeing the Capella around when I was fishing out of Kodiak. I think I also saw her down in Dutch Harbor when I was fishing out of there. I just looked through my pictures and could not find one of the Capella, but I think I have one somewhere. I am trying to put together an “encyclopedia” of Alaska Shipwrecks and want to have as many pictures of boats and people as I can find. Many people have sent me pictures but there are thousands that I still need. Thank you for remembering. RIP Ogie, Finny, Bob and Jack.

      • Capt. Chris Gundersen says:

        Thank you Captain Good. Yes I remember her like you said, like 72ft. From my fading memory, looked like a Southern Shrimper style vessel,( maybe with a slightly higher wheelhouse?). My info on the wreck, I looked up the info on Marilyn Berg’s( I knew her quite well) lawsuit against Chevron. Told the whole story on what happened. http://www.leagle.com/decision/19852184759F2d1425_11993.xml/BERG%20v.%20CHEVRON%20U.S.A.,%20INC.

        • captaingood says:

          Thanks for the link. I am always interested in litigations, arbitrations and hearings. This one was very informative. I had never heard the whole story. I looked up the Capella in the U S Merchant Vessels Lists and she was built in Jacksonville, Florida in 1963. Peter Evich was the original owner. I will be updating my writings with all the new information shortly. Smooth Sailing…

  2. Capt. Chris Gundersen says:

    Yes, I got this from the Small Shipbuilders websites( I’m interested in where all these vessels were built) http://shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/5small/inactive/bellinger.htm
    I punch in the name as “Fishing vessel Capella” and get a Maritime-Connector hit:
    http://maritime-connector.com/ship/capella-7100172/print/
    The smaller shipyards are listed in these websites.
    http://shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/8other/20pacific.htm
    And
    http://shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/8other.htm
    I am really shocked at all the vessels I never knew that were lost. I’ve made up my own list of the vessels and people I knew. Thanks so much for your service.

  3. Christopher Baird says:

    I’m having some trouble finding more information about the Commander, that went down in November 1980. That was 6 1/2 years before I was born, but I’ve heard the story, and somehow I thought there were more people aboard. Phil and John Edwards were my dad’s first cousins. I’m just curious to hear the story from a source that isn’t reminiscing about lost family and friends.

    • captaingood says:

      I listed the basic information of the tragic loss of the Commander on here as it was reported by the Coast Guard and later in the paper. I have the Seattle news story that goes into more detail and will email it to you. Sorry for your family’s loss.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *