Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 1981

January 1, 1981     One crewman was lost when the fishing vessel Mercy Bee capsized in heavy surf in Squaw Bay.

January 16, 1981     The 86 foot fishing vessel Cory P sank off of Aberdeen, Washington.  Captain Paul E Vine Jr, Rick Weekly, Doug Nelson and Carl Chater were all lost with the boat.

February 13, 1981     The trawler Wood Duck sank near Union Bay with the loss of one crewman.

February 28, 1981     The 291 foot cargo ship Dae Rim out of Pusan, South Korea caught fire 90 miles west of Attu with the loss of 24 souls.  Only two crewmembers survived the disaster.

March 13, 1981     The Japanese trawler Daito Maru No 55 sank 380 miles NW of Adak with the loss of 26 souls.

March 27, 1981     One person was lost when an unnamed logging boat sank in calm weather near Wrangell.

May 2, 1981     Curtis Wyatt was lost overboard from the Yardarm Knot 80 miles west of Port Moller in the Bering Sea.

May 5, 1981     The seiner Alaskan Rose grounded at Mountain Bay near Rugged Island and one person was lost.

May 12, 1981     Lee Andrich, part owner of the vessel Enterprise, suffered a blow to the head by the crane and was knocked overboard.  He managed to swim back to the boat but died aboard the vessel.

May 12, 1981     Peter D Reamy was lost overboard from the Sadie Ann.

May 19, 1981     The 65 foot Bering Scout was lost In route to Kipnuk Bay along with three crew; Robert Wangen (27) of Seattle, Mike Bosco (37) of Chefomak, and Bob Pruit (28) of Seattle.

May 24, 1981     Three people died from poisonous fumes aboard an unnamed pleasure boat in Thumb Cove, 7 miles from Seward in Resurrection Bay.

August 7, 1981     U S Coast Guard helicopter HH3F crashed near Naked Island in Prince William Sound while on a rescue attempt.  Lost were Ernest Rivas, John Snyder Jr, Joseph Spoja and Scott Finfrock.

August 20, 1981     The 96 foot floating processor Northern King of Kodiak capsized and sank 50 miles southwest of Port Moller in Bristol Bay.  Five of the crew made it to safety, but James A Eiden (55) of Everett WA and Eric Willis of Anchorage were lost.

August 21, 1981     Two persons were lost when the 32 foot Rocket overturned in heavy seas in Strawberry Pass near Montague Island.

October 29, 1981     Jens Jensen, captain of the 96 foot fishing vessel Vestfjord, was killed when a large wave struck the wheelhouse.

October 30, 1981     The 54 foot Gem sank near Cape Spencer.  David Miller, Larry Miller and another brother were picked up by the Coast Guard in a C-130.  The fourth crewman, Tim Blake, was lost.

November 8, 1981     Keith Richards fell overboard and was lost off of the Golden Pisces 150 miles NW of Dutch Harbor.

November 13, 1981     Kaino Dixon and Dwight Florin were lost off of the fishing vessel Cougar while taking a skiff to the beach at Sitkinak Island.

November 27, 1981     The fishing vessel Nannie D sank somewhere southwest of Seward with the loss of three people.

November 29, 1981     One person was lost when the 58 foot crab fishing vessel Norwegian Wood capsized and sank 45 miles southwest of Homer in Cook Inlet.  Four others were rescued by the fishing vessel Mary M.

November 29, 1981     All twelve of the crew of the St Patrick abandoned ship outside of Marmot Bay thinking the vessel was going down.  Bob Kidd and Wally Thomas were the only survivors.  Ten were lost including acting captain Cornelius Green, Vanessa Sandin, Ronnie Newton, Randall Ryker, Gary Stallings, Clifford Stigall, Charles Parlett, Thomas Kauppinen, Wilson Pair and James Jobe.

10 Replies to “Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 1981”

  1. The Norwegian wood was 58 foot keel and 67 foot over all if I rember right !
    When I first started crabing in 197 1 or 2 ,.
    I learned on that boat only she was called at the f/v Thomas j lll
    And with coincdince I was running the f/v Mary m the time that was also the same night that the crew abandon ship off the scallop dredger saint Patrick’ which did not sink , I heard a very weak sos and asked comstat Kodiak if they heard the sos ,no was thier reply and all stations listen but no more distress calls
    That night we had a solid 90 knot wind for about 45 min.solid not will -waa.s 30 to 40 foot waves ,that when the coast gaurd bouy tender ,based out of her would not go out beyond pt pagipshie it was a nerve wracking lonley feeling that night ,unfortunately the owner operator went down with his ship ,we were able to bring his 15 year old son and two of his close friends back to the mother ,and famalys /Avery strange and unknown spot in my life I didn’t know how to deal with and unfortionly I ducked out of faceing all the people on the dock
    Via the harbor master anyways
    Thank you for letting me remince
    Daniel w Desautel
    P.S. I am also the same person that got myself bit by a rattlsnake in late april 1980 in Homer ak. And was med vacd to Spokane Washington,

    1. I would like to hear more about this night my father was one of the crewmembers you saved that night let me know if you have anything else to say about that evening thank you sir

    2. Hey David, I was a deckhand out of Homer for summer fishing in 1980 & 81. As I recall, the Norwegian Wood had a very high retrofitted wheelhouse addition I am sure the keel and overall length of the vessel is accurate. I don’t know how anyone could come up with 32′ for that boat. I thought it was one of the most interesting boats in the fishing fleet out of Homer. I fished on the Carol Sea under skipper James Clark of Anchor Point. Later I fished on the Tanya Rose out of Seattle for the winter Bering Sea king crab season. (How did you encounter a rattlesnake in Homer?)

  2. I was the engineer on the Bering Scout the previous years, but had gotten engaged over the winter and decided to skip the season. The pilot, Mike, took the Scout out with a green crew as our Skipper was sick with the flu. This was their first trip out for the season. Pretty sad.

  3. Capt. Good…
    I’m trying to find a group of friends from that late 70s, early 80s. Last time we connected, they friends went onto crabbing. I see the crabber “Norwegion Wood” … do you have the crews names?

    1. According to communications I have received, there were four persons aboard the Norwegian Wood when it capsized and sank. The owner, who was operating the vessel at the time, was Richard L Poulson. I have also heard that his oldest son was also aboard. Richard L Poulson was said to have gone down with the Norwegian Wood. Witnesses said he stayed on the radio issuing a may-day until the vessel sank.

  4. I was on the norwegian with poulson and his son.
    richard would not leave the wheel house. there were myself, Jim KIng ,bob fellows and the poulsons.
    the mary m came to our position and after much effort we were able to come even to the rail and a deck hand and I helped the others to board the M.
    I don’t know where King and chris poulson wet after, but fellows
    died on his own boat about a year later.
    I would appreciate any info on these men.
    I recall this trauma quite often.

  5. Hi Ron, my Dad was Jim King. He had several health issues after this incident. His first of many heart attacks starting in Nov 1980. He passed away in May of 1984 .

    Hope you are all doing well.

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