Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 2002

March 1, 2002     A 16 year old male crewmember was pulled overboard by longline fishing gear and drowned aboard the 42 foot fiberglass black cod fishing vessel Pilot ten miles south of Gore Point in the Gulf of Alaska.

March 28, 2002     Jamie F Coby (30) was lost from the 40 foot fiberglass halibut fishing vessel Dustin C near Elfin Cove.  The vessel was found beached on George Island with no one on board by the fishing vessel Erin K.  Coby was presumed to have fallen overboard while retrieving gear.  He was the only one aboard at the time of the disaster.

June 13, 2002     John Perry of the 42 foot fiberglass salmon fishing vessel Angjenl was killed when caught by a line and pulled into a davit while fishing in Prince William Sound.

July 11, 2002     Samuel Gannon was lost in Cook Inlet south of Kenai when the outboard of a 22 foot aluminum setnet skiff got tangled in the net.  Three others were rescued.

July 17, 2002     Ralph Sorenson was lost overboard while fishing salmon from the 29 foot aluminum bowpicker Sherona S near Pilot Point, Bristol Bay.  The disaster was reported as possibly alcohol related.

September 18, 2002     A crewmember died of a head injury aboard the 34 foot wooden longline halibut fishing vessel Silver Crest approximately 40 nautical miles northwest of Petersburg.

October 11, 2002     The 48 foot fishing vessel Shenandoah disappeared with two persons aboard while towing the 65 foot Mary J from Homer to Seward.  The U S Coast Guard responded to a weak EPIRB signal from the Shenandoah in the vicinity of Chugach Bay.  Debris from the Shenandoah was found in and near Chugach Bay.  The Mary J was found washed ashore at the entrance to Windy Bay.  Lost with the Shenandoah were Mark Thibault (31) of Nashua NH and Pat DiMichele of Seward.

October 21, 2002     The 171 foot cod fishing catcher processor Galaxy caught fire, suffered multiple explosions and was lost October 20, 2002 approximately 30 miles southwest of Saint Paul Island in the Bering Sea.  24 of the 26 crewmembers aboard were rescued by the U S Coast Guard and Good Samaritan vessels Blue Pacific, Glacier Bay and Clipper Express.  Weather on scene was 30 to 40 knot winds, 10 to 15 foot seas and freezing spray.  First mate Jerry Stephens and cook George Karn were lost.  Jose Rodas died as a result of injuries suffered in the disaster

October 21, 2002     Daniel Schmeidt was washed overboard from the 138 foot catcher processor Clipper Express by a rogue wave 90 miles S of Saint Paul Island while aiding in the rescue of the Galaxy.

November 4, 2002     Michael Allen Moran was caught in a line and pulled overboard from the 166 foot steel cod fish catcher processor Western Queen 15 miles south of Saint George Island.

December 10, 2002     Gregory Liam Staples was lost from the36 foot fiberglass sea urchin cucumber diving vessel Wind Rose at Cedar Point, Annette Island.  The vessel drug anchor in heavy weather while a diver was down, tangling an air hose.

2 Replies to “Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 2002”

  1. I brought back the Dustin C from Elfin Cove to Juneau after this tragedy with another friend of Coby’s.

    Coby married my wife and I 2-1/2 years before his loss. He was our very good friend and has been missed. I urged then Alaska Senate Majority Leader Leman to sponsor and secure Coby’s legislative citation, which was done. We just returned to Alaska from the Atlantic on our second sailboat via the S. Pacific and I found this site. All the primary sources we questioned at the time Jamie’s loss indicated that he was just headed out to fish from Elfin Cove rather than pulling gear. I talked to people there when I went out to retrieve the vessel and return it for his family.

    That’s just how we remember it. Thanks for including him your site.

    1. Thank you for your post. I read over the USCG News Release from March 28, 2002 and see no mention of pulling gear either. The other sources of information were primarily newspapers including the March 31, 2002 ADN, January 2003 Alaska Fishermans Journal and Juneau Empire. One of them is likely the source of the speculation that Jamie Coby was pulling gear. That first showed up in the United States BOEM website’s Alaska Shipwreck list which is where I got it. Thanks for bringing me up to speed.

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