On Saturday, the Seattle-based crab boat F/V DESTINATION went missing in the Bering Sea, approximately two miles off of St. George Island, with six crewmembers aboard. St. George Island is located about 650 miles west of Kodiak Island, and has approximately 100 residents. The DESTINATION was on its way to begin the snow crab season.
The vessel’s emergency locator beacon (EPIRB) was activated at 6:11 a.m. on Saturday, and the U.S. Coast Guard and volunteers searched for nearly three days for the vessel and crew, without success. The EPIRB can be activated manually, or activates automatically upon hitting sea water. The Coast Guard received no mayday call from the vessel, which has led to speculation that whatever befell the vessel happened quickly. Volunteer vessels assisted the Coast Guard search, as well as individuals on ATVs along the shoreline of St. George Island. There are high cliffs along the shore of St. George, which provided volunteers a vantage point to look out to sea for evidence of the DESTINATION or debris from the vessel.
Search crews reported 30 mph winds, five to eight-foot waves, and air temperature of 20 degrees. The Bering Sea is known for bad weather this time of year. In such temperatures, ice can build up on a boat, reducing stability and buoyancy.