Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 1989

January 3, 1989     The 40 foot fiberglass salmon troller Alament grounded, caught fire and sank at Big Gavanski Island near Sitka.  The master of the vessel, Paul Pearson (49) was the only one aboard and was lost in the disaster.

January 14, 1989     Owner operator Francisco (Frank) Beeman (50) of Kodiak was lost when his vessel Morning Star capsized and sank in Uyak Bay.  Crewman Joe Talien survived the tragedy.

January 29, 1989     The 98 foot steel crab fishing vessel Vestfjord sent out a mayday heavily iced approx. 30 miles south of the Trinity Islands southwest of Kodiak Island.  She was never heard from again. Lost were skipper Dick LaGary (40) of Port Angeles, Kevin Melnick (28), Ricky Kristovich (37), Doug Harding (35) of Seattle, Bill Hodgins (33) of Anchorage and passenger Danny McDonald.

March 3, 1989     The 108 foot steel long line halibut fishing vessel Ocean Hope II was last heard from on the night of March 2 on her way to shelter in Portage Bay.  Lost were skipper Jack White (33) of Kodiak, Dennis Frye (26) of Kodiak, Dan Tuller (26) of Kodiak, and Michael “Mickey” Wheeler (27) of Anacortes.

April 24, 1989     Crewman Christopher Musseau (31) was reported lost off of the vessel Frances Lee near Saint Mathew Island.  A second crewmember jumped in after Musseau but was unable to hang on to him in the icy waters.

April 29, 1989     The 42 foot fiberglass salmon fishing vessel Legend overturned in southwest Cook Inlet.  The entire crew of four was lost including Richard Wiard, Doug Cundiff, Dave Garner and Mike Barney, all from Homer.

April 30, 1989     David Dowie of Kodiak and Martin Ferguson died of inhalation of toxic gasses aboard the Margaret G while fishing near Hawaii.

June 5, 1989     Laura Murphy was lost when the 32 foot salmon fishing vessel Fleet Commander capsized and sank in Cook Inlet carrying a load of lumber from Kenai to Chinitna Bay.

June 13, 1989     The 35 foot fiberglass longline halibut fishing vessel Sea Raider rolled in heavy seas with four persons on board off of Ugak Usland.  A U S Coast Guard C-130 spotted the three crewmembers and a six year old child clinging to the overturned hull.  The child and two crewmembers were saved.  Crewman David Lee Tanner (18) of Kodiak was lost.

June 20, 1989     One person was lost when the40 foot fiberglass salmon fishing vessel Sound Investor capsized in the Port of Valdez.

June 20, 1989     The 36 foot fiberglass salmon fishing vessel Jennifer Marie was found at Cape Fox, Dixon Entrance with no one aboard.  The operator of the vessel was never found.

August 15, 1989     Three were lost when the 67 foot steel trawler Sequel sank in Prince William Sound.  A transfer of ballast water caused the vessel to capsize and sink.

September 8, 1989     An unnamed 16 foot longline halibut fishing skiff capsized and sank near Saint Lazaria Island west of Sitka and two men were lost.

September 19, 1989     One person was lost when an unnamed fishing vessel capsized in Bristol Bay.

September 23, 1989     Three men were lost when the tug Steadfast capsized in a gale while towing a barge near the southwest end of Kayak Island in the Gulf of Alaska.  The tug was under contract with Exxon and involved in the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

October 19, 1989     One crewmember was lost from the 111 foot steel trawler Flying Cloud in the Bering Sea.  The vessel was transferring a cod end to another vessel when a cable parted sending the crewmember overboard.

December 6, 1989     The 42 foot fiberglass crab fishing vessel Angara overturned and sank near Shuyak Island in the Shelikof Strait with the loss of two of her crew; Ignaty Andreeff (48) and Vasily Andreeff (15).

17 Replies to “Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 1989”

  1. Hi.I was on the Bon-Su-Mar when she went down Dec.22,1989.That should be listed with losses for that year.There were 3 of us and were in the raft for a couple hours blowing 30-40 waiting for the Amber Dawn to get to us.

    1. Thanks for the post Jim. I was on the Bon-Su-Mar during the 1988 Joint Venture season for yellowfin sole. I have only posted the vessel losses where there was loss of life in the fisheries losses section of this site. I will in time. I am doing this site and the one on facebook without any assistance or funds, so it will be slow going for awile. The alaska fishermen RIP site on facebook has most of the vessel losses for 1972-2012. This site will be alot larger when I get the time to put all my files and photos onto it.

  2. Appreciate the work you’re doing here, Captaingood. Thank you.
    Wondering, though, where are you finding the information here? Coast Guard records?

    This is a needed accounting – it is good that someone has taken up the task. RIP to everyone listed.

    1. The information on this site is coming from a great many sources. I am posting the primary sources of the information on each wreck as I post them. The only ones that I haven’t done that for are the modern lists that I posted (losses since 1972) when I was active in the commercial fisheries out of Kodiak and Dutch Harbor. I haven’t incorporated those wrecks into the main body, so I haven’t researched each individual wreck for a good source. Basically what I do is find lists of wrecks and attempt to couple them with actual factual information about each individaul casualty. The BOEMRE has a basic database type list of wrecks which it had compiled using earlier lists and sources. It is one of the primary reference tools for a project like this site. I have lists I have gotten from library microfilms in Alaska, Oregon and Washington as well as ones from Harbormasters that have Memorials for Lost Fishermen. The U S Government has been publishing lists of wrecks since Alaska became a Territory. They use them as evidence that they need funding for the agencies that protect mariners. I will be posting a bibliography and populating the site with photos as I have time. I have been working on this since the mid 1980’s so it has become a very large undertaking. The internet has now introduced new digital resources that are compounding daily. It makes finding out about wrecks somewhat easier but the volume of information is daunting. I have to limit the amount I put on each one so that I can complete a basic site.

  3. A load shift caused a large salmon vessel, either a processor or tender, to sink in the narrows less than a mile south of Ketchikan Harbor in the Summer of 1989.

    1. The vessel you refer to is probably the Ocean Pacific. She was a 166 foot steel salmon processor that capsized and sank in 22 fathoms of water at her moorings in Tongass Narrows near Ketchikan. She went down with 200,000 lbs of processed and packaged pink salmon on board as well as 120,000 lbs of pink salmon in two brine tanks. There was 15,000 gallons of diesel on board as well as aviation gas, lube oil, anhydrous ammonia, oxygen and acetylene. Attempts were made at the time of the loss to remove pollutants and contaminants and plug fuel vents. A newspaper search of the time period may be productive in revealing more information.

      1. I was on that ship working as a processor. I was just looking to see if there were any photos floating around. If anyone knows of any let me know. rbh808 (@)

          1. Hi captain. I was referring to the “Ocean Pacific”. It was the processing ship that you mentioned in the comment above on this thread. Thanks

        1. I was an Assistant Engineer on Ocean Pacific when it sank. It was owned by the same (to remain unnamed) that had Yardarm Knot that nearly sank a year before near St. Paul (I was on that one as well). With Ocean Pacific It was not a “load shift” but overload (bringing the center of gravity and the center of buoyancy too close together), so that the ship rolled at first. It only had two small ballast tanks in the bow for stability control. Nothing that was transferred to the port side could bring her on even keel. It was Blue Finn the tender that picked us all up and away.
          I will send you a few pictures soon (just need to find them)

      2. Are there any photos or video of her sinking? I remember boats coming out and photographing. Would love to have some pictures, it is quite a memory.

        1. So far I haven’t found any pictures or video of the sinking of the Ocean Pacific. Lately I have been searching through the website and have found a few good videos and photos, but the Ocean Pacific hasn’t showed up yet. That is the outlet for news and stories that the U S Coast Guard puts out. Defense Video Imagery Distribution System is what the initials stand for. You have to join the site to get into the records, but it is worth the effort. The Coast Guard does amazing stuff every day and that outlet exhibits some of the video and pictures of what they do.

          1. Hi CaptainGood, recently just came across this book written by the owner of the Ocean Pacific, he wrote a little bit about the ship sinking. (Fisherman: The Strife and Times of Ronald K. Peterson of Ballard). I was excited because he mentioned in the book that he had a videotape of her sinking. I reserched finding him, but unfortunately found his obituary. Still looking for any photos of the ship, either healthy, when she was owned by the US Navy, or of her sinking on August 12, 1989.

            1. The Ocean Pacific was built in 1945 as the YW-114 and as you mentioned a U. S. Navy vessel. I believe the YW class of vessels were self propelled barges. The official number was 587265 when she went down and that traces back to the YW-114 built in 1945 in Duluth, MN. I found her in the 1979 Merchant Vessels of the U. S. as the HALLELUJAH. The length and breadth of the vessel was the same in 1979 as in 1989 when she went down, but the depth of the 1979 vessel was 15 feet and the 1989 vessel was 21.8 feet. Also the owner of the vessel in 1979 had her listed as a Yacht in New Orleans with 800 horsepower. I also saw where this vessel was purchased in an auction in 1974. You can find photos of the YW class of Navy vessel online. I downloaded a picture of the YW-90 and will send it if you wish.

      3. I was an Assistant Engineer on Ocean Pacific when it sank. It was owned by the same (to remain unnamed) that had Yardarm Knot that nearly sank a year before near St. Paul (I was on that one as well). With Ocean Pacific It was not a “load shift” but overload (bringing the center of gravity and the center of buoyancy too close together), so that the ship rolled at first. It only had two small ballast tanks in the bow for stability control. Nothing that was transferred to the port side could bring her on even keel. It was Blue Finn the tender that picked us all up and away.

  4. The date on the Sea Raider sinking is incorrect. It was June 13, not October. David Lee Tanner was my replacement on the boat for the 24 hour halibut opening because I opted to stay working on the Valdez Oil Spill that summer, as the salmon season had been cancelled in Kodiak. It was a tremendous blow to the community because he was such a young man full of promise. I know that it’s difficult to get every date right and I admire the amount of effort put into this site. I just wanted to get it right for David’s memory.

    1. Sorry for your loss. I was working on the spill also. I will correct the entries on this website and our main files for future publications. Thank you for the heads up.

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