The captains of Deadliest Catch are battling a brutal winter on the Bering Sea amid the tragic news of lost fisherman on the 95-foot crab vessel F/V Destination. The Seattle-based boat vanished two miles off the Pribilof Island of St. George, Alaska, on February 11.
If what happened to the Destination is any indication as to what the Deadliest Catch crews are enduring for the next season of the Discovery series, winter on the Bering Sea is perilous more than ever before.
It’s unknown what exactly caused the Destination to sink, but the Coast Guard received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert from the boat in a region northwest of St. George on Saturday. Search and rescue units were deployed, and the Coast Guard revealed that they located debris that “included the transmitting EPIRB, a life ring from the vessel, buoys, tarps, and an oil sheen,” Yahoo TV reports. After heavily covering approximately 5,730 square nautical miles, the search for the Destination crew was suspended Monday afternoon.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the crew members aboard the F/V Destination and their families. https://t.co/qrGaAouYru
— Deadliest Catch (@DeadliestCatch) February 13, 2017
The crew members who disappeared are identified as Captain Jeff Hathaway, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler, Charles Glenn Jones, Darrik Seibold, and Kai Hamik.
Deadliest Catch’s Captain Johnathan Hillstrand of the Time Bandit reacted to the news of the Destination crew being lost at sea and weighed in on the deadly conditions.
“I just got home, and it was like the most evil, cold season. We’ve been lucky the last couple years, but this is heavy freezing spray and -40 and a terrible season. We took on 200 tons of ice and it took around 28 hours to get the ice off the boat…. We were in trouble.”
A photo was posted by Hillstrand of the extreme ice conditions at sea on February 13, the same day search efforts for the Destination disappeared were called off.
(Sheryl here) We continue to pray for the crew of the F/V Destination, and their families! pic.twitter.com/OlTSKA5R3N
— Johnathan Hillstrand (@captjohnathan) February 13, 2017
While the Destination wasn’t a boat featured on Deadliest Catch, the captains and crew of the show feel a great sense of loss. Captain Keith Colburn expressed his sadness on Twitter in a number of tweets. The Deadliest Catch star had worked with Captain Hathaway.
“The loss of the crew of F/V Destination has hit all of us in the fleet hard. Capt. Jeff was a consummate professional, an ally on the sea… and a good friend on land. Words are not adequate to express the respect I hold for Capt. Jeff, his engineer Larry and the crew… We fished side by side for 25 years. Prayers for the crew, their families and friends, and thank you to the @USCGAlaska … and good samaritan ships that responded. We will never forget the fishermen of the F/V Destination.”
Captain Sig Hansen of the F/V Northwestern also spoke about the loss of Captain Hathaway in an interview with Fox News.
“I’ve learned a lot from him and know for a fact that he is calm under pressure. When the Northwestern hit the beach a few years ago, there was only one boat in the area that had a tow. I was in a state of panic and thought we were done. It was Jeff who walked me through this ordeal on what to do over the radio. I did exactly what he told me and sure enough, the stern came around and we got off the beach. It’s what saved us.”
Captain Sig added that whatever occurred with the doomed Destination, it happened so fast they weren’t able to call out for help. Sig says the boat would notify someone of impending danger if they knew there was trouble. He doesn’t believe it was “human error.”
The show posted a message on its Facebook page.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the crew members aboard the F/V Destination and their families,” Deadliest Catch wrote.
[Featured Image by Discovery Channel]