Hurricane Michael ripped the almost-built Alaska factory trawler North Star from a shipyard mooring in Panama City, Florida, and left it lying on its starboard side in the shallow water of Florida's Saint Andrews Bay.
Hurricane Michael ripped an almost-finished Alaska factory trawler built for a Seattle company from a shipyard mooring in Panama City, Florida, and left it lying on its starboard side in the shallow water of Saint Andrews Bay.
“The boat was nearing completion, and because of all the destruction down there we have not been able to survey the vessel,” said Jim Johnson, president of Seattle-based Glacier Fish Co., which is responsible for managing the ship.
The 261-foot-long North Star was constructed by Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City, which was hit hard by the Category 4 hurricane that slammed ashore earlier this week, bringing fierce winds and storm surges. The ship was scheduled to journey north next month, and this winter start netting and processing Alaska groundfish with a crew of some 50 people.
“There is a lot of work and a huge amount of effort that goes into this, and we were so close,” Johnson said.
Johnson said Glacier Fish is now working with shipyard, insurance and salvage officials to retrieve the vessel and survey its condition. He said it’s too early to talk about what type of damage it may have sustained.
The company has not disclosed the cost of building the vessel.
Glacier Fish is a part-owner of Iquique US, also of Seattle, which built the North Star and also operates four other vessels that catch and do initial processing of yellowfin sole, rock sole and other groundfish. Glacier Fish also operates three of its own vessels.