Coast Guard releases Katmai investigation report

The Coast Guard has released its investigation report into the tragic accident of the Katmai, the fishing vessel that sank in the waters of Alaska in October 2008.

The memorial at Fishermen’s Terminal days after the Katmai tragedy.

The Coast Guard says the Marine Board of Investigation interviewed two dozen people including the survivors, the vessel owners, the crew and captains of the fish-processing vessels Patricia Lee and Courageous, previous Katmai crewmembers, naval architects and Coast Guard fishing vessel examiners to piece together what may have happened at sea.

“Several primary causal factors that led to this casualty identified in the report include imprudent voyage planning; failure to maintain watertight boundaries; excessive loading of cargo in the vessel’s fish hold; and exposure to heavy winds and high seas. The cause of flooding in the engine room remains unknown,” the press release states.

The full report gives recommendations aimed at preventing this kind of tragedy from happening again. Those recommendations include “several regulatory and legislative changes focusing on inspection and stability requirements, licensing of fishing vessel masters and revising Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 28, which contains the specific requirements for commercial fishing industry vessels,” according to the release.

Four crewmen survived, five crewmen, Cedric Smith, Glenn Harper, Jake Gilman, Joshua Leonguerrero and Fuli Lemusu, died and Carlos Zabala and Robert Davis are still unaccounted for.

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