The U.S. Coast Guard has suspend the search for the six missing crew members of the crab fishing vessel Destination, which is believed to have sunk Saturday in the Bering Sea amid snow and freezing temperatures.
The Coast Guard said the search was suspended Monday afternoon after covering approximately 5,730 square nautical miles to the off St. George Island, a small and remote island in the Bering Sea with a population of only about 100.
The Coast Guard said watchstanders from the 17th District received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert from F/V Destination early Saturday morning and deployed Kodiak aircrews to begin the search.
The aircrews located a debris field in the general area of the EPIRB alert, approximately two miles northwest of St. George. Debris included the transmitting EPIRB, a life ring from the vessel, buoys, tarps and an oil sheen, the Coast Guard said.
The search continued through Saturday, Sunday and into Monday, with a total of 21 coordinated searches totaling more than 69 aircraft and surface hours.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the six crewmembers during this extremely difficult time,” said Rear Adm. Michael McAllister, Coast Guard 17th District commander. “The decision to suspend a search is always difficult and is made with great care and consideration.”
Civilians on St. George island also participated in the search by patrolling shorelines for any sign of the missing vessel or crew.
“I’d like to thank the volunteers on St. George Island who conducted shoreline searches and the crewmembers of the fishing vessels Bering Rose and Silver Spray for helping with the search efforts,” McAllister said.
Assets involved in the search for the six missing crew members included two HC-130 Hercules airplanes, two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and one MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak; Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau; and watchstanders in the 17th District command center coordinating the search and communications.
The crews of the fishing vessels Silver Spray and Bering Rose, also assisted in the search.
Weather on scene on Saturday was reported to be 30-mph winds with five to eight-foot seas and snowing. The air temp at the time was 21 degrees with a sea temperature of 3o degrees, the Coast Guard said.
The U.S.-flagged Destination was based in Seattle.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.
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