Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 1993

January 8, 1993     A crewman went overboard from the 116 foot crab fishing vessel Billikin 45 nautical miles from Saint Paul Island.  He was recovered from the water within 10 minutes but succumbed to hypothermia and was lost.

January 15, 1993     The 86 foot crab fishing vessel Massacre Bay sank after she grounded and capsized in Alitak Bay.  Lost were skipper Jock Bevis (42), Tom Salisbury (48) and Bill Corbin (45), all of Kodiak.  Matt Corriere (23) survived.

March 8, 1993     An ELT signal was picked up from the 86 foot cod trawler Lady of Good Voyage.  Only a crushed life ring and empty life raft were found.  Lost were skipper Gregory Schwindt (32) of Bellingham WA, Jeremy “Jay” Scott-Hunter (37) of Bellingham WA, Larry Hoover of Newport OR and Eddie Hoover of Portland OR.

May 26, 1993     Two crewmembers were lost when a large wave washed over the 41 foot salmon fishing vessel Sunrise in Strawberry Channel south of Cordova.  The vessel burned to the waterline and sank late the same summer.

June 6, 1993     Commercial fisherman Steven J Lozza died after an altercation aboard the ship on which he was working in Dutch Harbor.

July 30, 1993     The 38 foot salmon troller Sonia was found with no one on board at Cape Cross, Yakobi Island.  Her operator was presumed lost.

August 7, 1993     Clarence Jasper (62), owner of the 95 foot salmon tender Preston Brooks, was lost from hypothermia when his vessel sank in the Barren Islands.  Two other crewmembers were rescued.

August 10, 1993     Patrick “Kleet” Halsey was lost from the 104 foot crab fishing vessel Sea Venture in a deck accident while crab fishing.

September 13, 1993     The 58 foot crab fishing vessel Nettie H disappeared out of King Cove with 5 crewmembers on board.  The vessel was bound for Saint Paul Island.  Lost were Blake Grimstein of Bellingham WA, David Soileau of Cottage Grove OR, his girlfriend Julie Mereness of CO, Peter Soileau of Cottage Grove OR and Daniel Soileau of Conyers GA.

November 19, 1993     Eric Gromke (38) died of a heart attack aboard the 98 foot Big Valley during opilio crab season.

45 Replies to “Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 1993”

  1. Looking through your site, I see so many familiar names. People I knew from Kodiak and Seattle, thank-you for taking the time to put this together. Any chance you would have any pics of the Southern Explorer? She was based out of Kodiak, she was my dads, George Johnson’s boat.

    1. My grandpa, Bill Kvasnikoff and Turkey George Johnson ran the Southern Explorer in Adak a long time ago, my dad (Eric) says.

      1. Hello, I worked in Dutch Harbor for 9 years at Magone Marine for Dan Magone.I started in 1993 just before the stat of King crab season. And A season drag and longline season. I worked for Dan for several months before I got the chance to meet him. He was out with our salvage crew on the Billikin and the Bel-Air salvaged. During my years in Dutch I lost so many friends. To so many different events At Sea and on land. Every time the boats would be headed out at the beginning of seasons I would try to get to as many boats as I could to tell the crews to stay safe and I’d see them when they got back in. With my closest boat crews I’d drop what I was doing to go throw their lines to give my hugs and let them know If be there to catch their lines when they hit the dock. knowing fully well that maybe the last time I seen any of them. I manned my radio day and night. When they headed out on opening days I would hold my breath pray and listen hard to the radio till I knew all the boats were at least three False Pass and we’ll on the other side of it. Some didn’t make it threw False Pass. To many times over the years I listened to Capts making the man overboard, vessel in distress or vessel disappeared calls. At times I had to sit there recording every second of the Com Sta Kodiak calls and the panic and fear in all of the Capts voices. While tears ran down my face and my heart was ripped out of me. Several times I was the relay between vessels in distress and Com Sta Kodiak. It is all etched into my memory forever just like it was happening now. I also spent several years as a deckhand. I watching Deadliest Catch I could feel every wave every roll and buck of the boats. And endured watching more of my friends and crews and boats I didn’t know be lost. But one thing that has never changed is the fear, panic and heartbreak that runs threw my heart body and mind. The helplessness, the fear and the heart ache that I can’t explain that I feel. I My job with Dan started in the tool/parts room. I did a lot of different types of jobs for Dan. But all the way threw I was the person who the boats came to for parts. I as Dan put it back then was his right hand man. There wasn’t hardly a boat and it’s crew I didn’t know. It was the best years of my life! And the most heart breaking at the same time. But I wouldn’t trade one single second of it for nothing. loved every boat and every crew member like family even the crew members I never knew. Only someone who’s lived will understand that. It’s a kinship like no other. We may dislike each other totally but we will die trying to save them and mourn the loss of them like they were family. That will never leave me. I could tell so many stories of those years and supply many pictures. But they may bring more heart ache and pain to the ones who stuffed the losses. I’m writing this with an open heart and love for those you’ve lost and for them. For Jack Lundgren, Rodney Allen Pauly Larkin’s and many more. Alll my dearest friends I’ll ever have. And all of yours. I may one day share a poem or maybe it’s a pray in honor and memory of every commercial fisherman lost at sea. But for now I send my love and respects to all of them and all of you. Stay safe fill your holds and I hope someone is there waiting always to catch your lines.
        As Always

        1. Robie, Hi I’m curious did you ever remember the cod trawler & processor F/V CONTINUITY back in 1993 a big red & black & white vessel. If so what ever happened to her !?!? Skipper by the first name Lawrence a tall burly gent with glasses and a beard. I pulled a 4 month contract with her back in the day never heard what happened to her after I left….Curious

  2. David Soileau was a friend of mine. He planned it as his last trip with his brothers before getting married and leaving crabbing behind. Very sad loss of three brothers, David’s fiance, and their friend. Thanks for the record here.

    1. Hi, my name is Rhonda from Conyers,Ga., David Soileau & I we’re dating when he first went to Alaska & we stayed in touch through writing & when he would come back to the lower 48, we became engaged & although it was a brief engagement due to the struggles of a long distant relationship we parted ways on a very loving note… I didn’t find out about this tragic accident until 2003 via a phone conversation with his Mother about a rental house & during the conversation I found out her last name & I asked about David & that’s when I was told.. could you tell me more about his journey in Alaska & Oregon, maybe you have photos etc… David & I last communication was when he was in Fairbanks about 1983… You can contact me [email protected] or on FB Rhonda Freeman Kennedy.. ..Thank you

  3. R.I.P to all, my sister was Julie Mereness even though I was only three when she passed. Does anyone know where I can find more articles?

    1. Sorry for your loss. I retired from the Alaska Commercial Fishing Industry the year your sister was lost. The information I used about the loss of the Nettie H. came from the 2011 Alaska Shipwreck list that was produced by the Bureau of Energy Management. Most of that compilation was put together by Michael Burwell who has since retired. He has been helping me with my research. In that list, it mentions that the information about the Nettie H came from the Alaska Fisherman’s Journal, Kodiak Daily Mirror and Anchorage Daily News. Unfortunately, I do not have copies of the articles for Julie’s loss. RIP Julie, Dave, Blake, Dan and Pete.

      1. I would like to see those pictures if you still have them! Sorry for the extremely delayed response .

  4. Researching intentional shipwrecks of ships used to bring uranium to the queen charlotte island now known as Graham island that has a weather modification weapon operated by the British army and to Gakona, Alaska operated by the USA. Many fishing ships used secretively to deliver the uranium and remove the depleted uranium from these weather modification weapons known as HAARP have been intentionally sunk to muzzle the crew and the corporation that owns the ships. Two other ships sunk off in the Bering sea off coast of Washington state used to deliver Uranium to Queen charlotte island are the Artic Rose and Aleutian enterprize. I see no history on the shipwreck of the Westwind that was the sister ship of the Preston Brooks ship that was sunk on Aug. 7, 1993. Westwind was said to be sunk also in 1993 but before the Preston Brooks. Can not find any info on it.

    This info is logged in a racketeering case in New Orleans Sect R 15-08 McLean VS Obama, ET AL linked to a case filed in June 26, 2014 in Washington D.C. 1;14 cv 1076 McLean EX REL USA VS HAARP, et al. The US coast guard would be at risk due to their investigations of the sinkings of all these ships which is industrial and economic espionage. Notify the US coast guard in Alaska and Washington state.

    1. I have the Westwind mistakenly listed as the West Wind. It is not in the recent Maritime Losses section because there was no loss of life. The West Wind is listed in the A – Z section of this site. She went down in Orca Bay while tendering in Prince William Sound July 27, 1993. All four crew members were rescued. The official number of the Westwind is 284347. She was built in Neponset, Ma in 1944. I have never heard of the other things of which you speak. I would find it distasteful at the very least for a vessel that hauled radioactive material to also haul fresh fish.

      1. Dan had served in the Navy prior to his death and when he came home he predicted he would go missing at sea one day. That has haunted me for years.

      2. I worked with Blake aboard the RMT for Icicle Seafoods. Hard worker we both shared a state rm. Blake and I pulled a 4 month contract with RMT Bering Sea Processor during crab season Jan-April of 2014. RIP Blake I miss you Brother ✝️

  5. Re: Nettie H specs.
    I shipped on a “Nettie H” out of Seward for a Black Cod run in 1988. She was either 68 or 70′ by my recollection and rather a narrow 20′ beam. Could it be a different boat with same name or are the specs typo? She certainly wasnt the size of a limit seiner or the Excalibur which I JV’d on in the Bering…
    Thanks and condolences to all… I dont recognize the names…

    1. The Nettie H was 68 foot according to the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission where she was registered to fish long line and pot gear. They use something akin to overall length. Her registered length was 58.3 which is likely her waterline length. Her registered breadth was 19.2 and depth 9.5 feet. She was built in 1973 with a different name which I haven’t figured out yet. Her call sign was WYU8477.

    2. Just did some more research on the NETTIE H and it appears her length changed in 1982. She was built in Port Mansfield, Texas as the VANGIE, official number 553680. She had a registered length of 58.3 feet. She had multiple owners over the years including Gulf Maiden Corp. of WA. registered out of Juneau. In 1978 she was called PARIAH and in 1979 her name was CAPE EDGECUMBE and her home port Sitka. In 1982 her owner, Eugene Olsen of Sand Point has her length listed as 58 feet at the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission with the name NETTIE H. In 1983 the same owner has her length listed as 68 feet at the ACFEC. The official length registered with the Coast Guard stayed 58.3 until she went down as the NETTIE H official number 553680. Thanks for your post and drawing my attention to this interesting logistics glitch.

  6. My cousin was Steven Lozza. He was 10 yrs older than me growing up so I didn’t know him as well as I wish I did. He was a true outdoorsman and I admired him and looked up to him. His family was like. A second family to me. Taken too soon from this earth. Still remember the times we were fishing for cod and stripers….

  7. I used to work in Dutch Harbor, Ak in the early 90s. I got to know a lot of the fishermen. I remember meeting a couple of the guys from the Lady Of Good Voyage. I knew the boat was registered in Newport, Or. I was there when the boat went down and was totally shocked and couldn’t believe it.
    When I went home on vacation to Albany, Or I saw a show on tv talking about fishing vessels out of Newport, the first boat they showed was the Lady Of Good Voyage, my heart sank and I sat there crying for the loss of those fine men.

    1. The guys on the Lady of Good Voyage were friends of mine as well. Jay and I worked together on the BonSuMar a couple years before. We also hung around together in Kodiak before that. When the Lady sank, I didn’t realize for many years that he was one of the lost because we called him Australian Jay and the paper called him Jeremy. I was looking at one of my old pay stubs from the BonSuMar and saw the rest of the crew names listed and realized then that my old friend had been lost. Unfortunately, Jay is not the only old friend I have found to have been lost. If you worked out of Dutch Harbor back then, there were likely other people you knew that didn’t make it home. I had a conversation with one of the lady deckhands in the fleet recently about how many people we each knew during the 1970’s, 1980’s and into the 1990’s that had been lost. We came to the conclusion that each of us knew over 100. A sad truth for those of us who circulated around the fleet.

      1. Larry and Eddie Hoover were my uncles. It was supposed to be Larry’s last trip before he took a job that kept him closer to home.

    2. I knew one of the guys on the lady good voyage, Australian Jay. I wanted to go out with them just to cook for a day or two when the next night they went down. Thank goodness the captain said no. I wouldn’t be here today.

      1. Jay was a good guy. He and I were friends. I did not realize that he was lost on the Lady of Good Voyage for years. I happened to see his full name on a paystub I had from 1988 when we worked on the BonSuMar together. I only knew him as Australian Jay. We lost a lot of friends back in those day and sometimes never even knew.

  8. Re: Nettie H. I was a soccer teammate with Pete Soileau (Rockdale County High School – Conyers Georgia – Class of ’76). He was a good guy. I knew he and several of his brothers were lost at sea based on an article in our local newspaper published soon afterwards. A co-worker and I were talking and he mentioned he’d lived in Dutch Harbor Alaska for 10 years and just make me wonder if there was any information on the internet about Pete. Thanks for your efforts in archiving this information.

    1. I don’t know of anything. I spent a lot of time out in Dutch Harbor in the 1970’s and 1980’s but do not remember Pete. We likely crossed paths; it is a very small place. I also visited King Cove a few times back then, which is where his boat disappeared out of. If I hear of anything I will drop you a line. I still have friends out there in Dutch Harbor.

  9. I ran the Nettie H one season in the late 1980s, just preceding Pete Soileau and maitained contact with him and Blake Grinstein, who was a great friend throughout the years of their time on this boat. I was asked to run the boat for that season by Pete and Blake. I declined and have second guessed myself overand over that decision since the boat and crew were lost. The very last person to see the Nettie H was Lawrence Yachmanoff of False Pass when they passed in front of the village heading through the pass. I have a pretty good idea what happened after that and will share my thoughts sometime. My history with the boat goes through it’s various encarnations and name changes. I didn’t realize that the Nettie H was the same boat as the ones I had crossed paths with in earlier years untill reading the ships log and seeing the vessel documentation the year I ran her. It is quite a story. It is Christmas morning today. I use these times to reflect on the past in appreciation of life and those whose paths have intertwined with mine. The remembrance of my friends on the Nettie H and those connected through our lives in the fisheries brought me to this site today, for the first time… Peace to you all.

    1. I just happened upon this site a couple days ago when I was internet surfing to find old friends. I had not until this time known about the tragedy of the Nettie H. I was a friend of Dave Soileau in the late 1980s and early 1990s when I lived in Eugene, Or. I am so sad.
      I extend my condolences to all of the family and friends of those involved.
      I haven’t been able to learn anything much in my searches for information and am wondering if you have ever shared the information you referred to about what may have happened.
      Thank you.
      Terry Brown

  10. So, there was a small boat that I presume belong to Peter Soileau, that apparently he gave to his brother John. John passed on, and his wife sold that boat on Craigslist to someone who contacted me recently, because he saw my comment on this page. He was wondering about who built that boat. Meanwhile, I have been writing a song a day this month, for the challenge of it, and decided it was time to write this song. I wrote it from David’s perspective, as he was my friend. I did a little research to try to figure out some of the details that were known, and so, fresh and unpolished, here it is. I’m amazed that out of all the comments on this page so many of them were friends of the Nettie H crew. Anyway, here is the song. If you want to contact me, you can check in on fb from my dharmikmusic page. In memory of our friends and family:
    Listen to I’m Going to the Sea by dharmika on #SoundCloud

    Also, if anyone knows who built Peter’s boat, let me know and I will pass it on.

  11. Julie Mereness was riding along on the Nettie H. when the boat went down. She was a beautiful blue eyed blonde 22 year old girl full of life. Very creative and artistic. She died as she lived having adventures and dreaming of the future. She was in love and soon to marry. When they vanished there was a search. A couple months later she was found tied into a raft off the coast of Oregon. The cold water near St. Paul was very quick at lest. I like to think maybe her fiance may have tied her in..any of those boys would have tried to save her. God holds each in his warm embrace now..forever young..forever dreaming..

    1. The Nettie H disappeared between False Pass and St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea September 13, 1993. The life raft with the remains of Julie Merenes was found May 5, 1994 near Cape Constantine in the Bristol Bay area of the Bering sea by the F/V Catcher. Sorry for your loss. RIP Julie, Blake, Peter, Dave and Daniel.

    2. Julie, or “JuJu” as I called her, was my best friend in Portland and my neighbor. Her dying at sea broke my heart forever and I was quite traumatized by it. I loved her very much. We had great times together and she was a huge part of my life.

      She and David stopped by my place on the day they left Oregon for Alaska. It was the first and last time that I met him and the last I saw of her. I was against her going to Alaska. I had a bad feeling about it. I tried to convince her to stay. I even walked all the way down my street in the pouring rain to the David’s van with her, hoping she’d change her mind. We hug real hard. Said goodbye. I watched that van drive off down the street until it went out of sight.

      The last I heard from her, she called me via ship to shore operator from Dutch Harbor before they were to sail out. She seemed sad. Anxious. I asked her when she was coming back and she said, after a pause, that she didn’t know. I asked what she meant and she said, “Things are kinda weird right now.” She had doubts about the boat. I told her that if she wanted I could get her on a plane out of there right now. But she loved David and was going to follow him wherever he went. I had to respect that. But still…

      That was the last I heard from her. Oddly enough, the FBI in Seattle, WA called me after her body was found months later in, I believe, near Bellingham, WA and asked me a lot of questions. So, I don’t know what happened to The Nettie H. Why did the FBI call me? How did they know who I was? Why were they asking so many questions?

      I’ve been waiting for years to know what really happened. I haven’t had closure.

      I do have photos of Julie. I will share photos with whoever wants them. Contact me at [email protected].

  12. Marek NOWINSKI (37) died in the same June 6, 1993 incident as Steven J. LOZZA (40). The two, along with the man who would later stab them to death, were caretakers for three fishing boats in Dutch Harbor (Unalaska).

  13. I’m a bit of an outsider here, never having worked aboard as crew member on an Alaskan fishing boat, though I was an observer aboard a Japanese trawler out in the Pribilofs for two months.

    But I did know Blake Grinstein (of the Nettie H) through another side of his life. Blake was a phenomenally talented sculpture artist. I knew him while he was attending Fairhaven College in Bellingham, 1983 or so. I too was a sculpture artist and boatbuilder, but while I worked in wood, Blake welded metal. His work was some of the strangest (in a good way) and most viewer-challenging of any I have ever seen in my life. First, it was large, you could–and were encouraged to–step into it and take a seat or stand upon a spot or lie down in it. When you did so, you would find yourself, for example, staring at a giant spring-powered bow with an arrow aimed directly at your eye and your foot on the (welded together so completely inactive) release mechanism. Or you might be looking up at a large boulder, suspended over your head with a (again, welded together) release mechanism being the spot where you rested your hand. Very off-beat and bizarre in a humorous way that also put you on your guard against potential self-inflicted hazards. Maybe not such a bad description of life aboard a commercial Alaskan fishing boat.

    Here’s a link to the campus magazine which printed an article about him and his art.

    I just wanted to post this for those of you who may have known Blake but who weren’t aware of this side of his personality. As can be read in the linked article, his works were shown outdoors in a Seattle, Pioneer Square gallery. This is proof that I’m not the only one who was impressed by his imagination and ability. He was truly one-of-a-kind and I was immediately saddened when I read of his death many years ago. I can honestly say that his work left a deep impression not only on me, but everyone who interacted with it.

  14. I just wanted to say that I attended Rockdale County High School & Mass on Sundays in Conyers, Ga. with the brothers. They were kind, fun and interesting. It was quite unbelievable and incredibly sad how they perished. Rest In Peace Peace to all involved.

  15. Dan Soileau was my classmate in Rockdale High. He would tell me stories about the sea and how his older brother was begging him to come work with him and that he probably was going to do it because he had worked with them some already. I even thought about joining them. Im glad I didn’t 🙁 but hate that happened to them. He was a super nice guy. RIP guys.

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