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Vessels | Victoria, British Columbia to Alaska | Aleutian Islands, Alaska | Little Diomede Island, Alaska | The Yukon, Canada | Sachs Harbor/Ikaahuk, Northwest Territories | Holman/Uluqsaqtuuq, Victoria Island | Coppermine / Kugluktuk, Nunavut | Cambridge Bay/ Ikaluktutiak, Nunavut | Gjoa Haven/ Ursuqtuuq | Spence Bay/Taloyoak, Northwest Territories | Arctic Circle Crossing Initiation | Excursion onto the Ice | Laurier 2000 Photo Album | Saint Lawrence Island Polynya Project 2001 | SLIPP 2001 Photo Album | The Arctic Rose Tragedy
The Arctic Rose Tragedy

After the last day of SLIPP '01 science was completed, the USCG Polar Star recieved word of the fishing trawler Arctic Rose's Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) going off in the Bering Sea. The Polar Star was the closest ship to the scene, and was diverted to the rescue operation.

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Above: Photos of one of the storms we plowed through in order to get to the scene. (Photos by J. Bump)

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Forty-five degree rolls were not uncommon. The rough seas blew out a bridge window some 60 feet above sea level, and ripped an ice machine off of the wall. An aviation crewmember was thrown across the hangar (sustaining bruised ribs and hand injuries), and the $3M helicopters continually tried to work their way out of their bolted-down chains. A garage-type door had its bottom half ripped off by the water, allowing the CTD (pictured previously) to break loose from its bolts and caused several thousand dollars worth of damage in the lab area. Sleep was impossible. To prevent getting thrown out of the bunk, it was necessary to cram boots, clothes, books, etc. under the mattress edge in order to form a U-shape to wedge yourself into. The USCG Boutwell, also en route to the scene, had crewmembers injured so badly in the storm that they had to be med-evaced off the ship for care.

Above: Frozen storm spray coating the ship. This is a common Bering Sea problem, the ice can add thousands of extra pounds, causing a ship to become top-heavy, roll, and sink. (Photo by J. Bump)

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Above: Crew members trying to bash the ice off the deck in order to lessen the weight. Baseball bats, axes, sledge hammers, and shovels were used. (Photo by J. Bump)

All 15 crewmembers on board the Arctic Rose were lost. The USCG Polar Star, the USCG Boutwell, C-130 search planes, and the fishing trawler sister ships to the Arctic Rose, the Alaska Rose and the Bering Rose, participated in the search and rescue. The Polar Star had been the closest rescue vessel to the scene, but was still 30 hours away. Only one body was recovered, and that was the captain of the boat, Dave Rundall, found in an unzipped survival suit. Another body was spotted but was lost in the waves.
The sinking of the Arctic Rose is now considered the worst fishing tragedy in U.S. waters for 50 years. There had been no mayday distress call--EPIRBs automatically start signalling when submerged. An investigation is currently underway to determine what the causes were.

Please visit the below links for more information on the Arctic Rose tragedy and ensuing investigation.

The Arctic Rose Marine Board of Investigation

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Seattle company's fishing vessel missing in Alaska

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: A father's worst fears of the sea come true

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Coast Guard seeks clues in sinking

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Coast Guard will convene hearing into Arctic Rose sinking

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Two bodies found in area where fishing vessel disappeared

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: List of the Arctic Rose crew

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Lost fisherman remembered

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Search, storm part of the mission for Seattle-based icebreaker

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Lost at sea, but not to memory

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Arctic Rose inquiry opens today

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: One mother makes a pledge as Arctic Rose inquiry opens

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Former skipper of Arctic Rose perplexed by boat's sinking

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Surveyor bets Arctic Rose 'flipped'

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Fishermen tell inquiry panel of safety concerns on Arctic Rose

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Arctic Rose owner pleads Fifth

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Camera to look for Arctic Rose

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Tribute to those lost on Arctic Rose to precede study of wreck

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Video reveals little of what happened to the Arctic Rose

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: A new attempt to film the Arctic Rose is begun

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Bad weather hampers Arctic Rose videotape efforts

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: A second trip to view Arctic Rose yields more clues

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Arctic Rose film to be made public tomorrow

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Arctic Rose questions unanswered