Capsizing and Sinking of Commercial Fishing Vessel ​Scandies Rose

Investigation Details

What Happened

​​​On December 31, 2019, US Coast Guard Communications Detachment Kodiak received a distress call from the fishing vessel Scandies Rose. The vessel was en route from Kodiak to fishing grounds in the Bering Sea when it capsized about 2.5 miles south of Sutwik Island, Alaska, and sank several minutes later. At the time of the accident, the Scandies Rose had seven crewmembers aboard, two of whom were rescued by the Coast Guard several hours later. The other missing crewmembers were not found and are presumed dead. The Scandies Rose, valued at $15 million, was declared a total loss.

According to the surviving crewmembers, the vessel had begun to encounter freezing spray and accumulate ice from 0200 to 0800 on the day of the accident. By 2037, the captain of the Scandies Rose noted that his vessel was icing "really bad" and had developed a 20° starboard list. He was trying to seek shelter southeast of Sutwik Island, but when he changed course, the vessel's list worsened. At 2155, the captain of the Scandies Rose​ broadcasted a mayday call.

What We Found

​​The probable cause of the capsizing and sinking of the commercial fishing vessel Scandies Rose was the inaccurate stability instructions for the vessel, which resulted in a low margin of stability to resist capsizing, combined with the heavy asymmetric ice accumulation on the vessel due to localized wind and sea conditions that were more extreme than forecasted during the accident voyage.​

What We Recommended

The NTSB ​​​made four recommendations to the Coast Guard, one recommendation to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one recommendation to the National Weather Service, and one recommendation to the North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association. The NTSB also reiterated two recommendations to the Coast Guard.