The “Destination – No Return” series resonated with readers, regulators and industry officials, who praised the clarity of the writing, accuracy and vivid insights into the lives of Alaska crabbers.
I wanted to commend you for a great article. It can be difficult to communicate in simple terms the concepts of stability and communicate the life on board commercial fishing vessels. Many of us in the Coast Guard commercial fishing vessel safety program were deeply saddened over the loss of the DESTINATION. In the field of “prevention” we are deeply affected when our outreach doesn’t always result in a positive outcome. It is often difficult to measure how successful we are in preventing accidents. How do you measure something that didn’t happen and a vessel returns home safely due to what we were able to accomplish. I was at the Marine Board of Investigation for the DESTINATION and called to testify on behalf of the Coast Guard. I was deeply moved by family and friends of the lost crew and I am moved to continue my fight to increase the safety on these vessels so others may return to their families.
Thanks for getting this story out. Great job.
Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Coordinator
Thirteenth Coast Guard District Prevention and Investigation Staff
A small side note to your reporting on the Destination. I was the engineer on the F/V Starlite that pulled Sue out of the water in 1983. We have talked about her over these past 35+ years. wondering what happened to her, and how tough she was that day. I knew Jeff from fishing and seeing him at meetings over the years. Never knowing that Sue was married to him. He was highly regarded in the fishing industry. It is with extreme sadness that I put these two separate accidents together. Over the years you wonder what happens to people who work, then leave Alaska fishing jobs. It’s not for everyone, many times you never know someones last name that you have met on another boat. That probably spares you the connections when something bad happens.
The sinking of the Destination was sad enough to hear/read about. Now I know what ever happened to Sue that we pulled from the freezing Bering Sea.
If you talk with her, please give her my condolences. I had chills reading your article today.
— Floyd Smith
Hal, an excellent piece of journalism, in an era where excellent reporting is often hard to find. I often bike to the Fisherman’s Terminal and pay tribute at the memorial for those lost at sea. I look and the engraved names and the makeshift memorials and wonder how anyone could do that for a living and assume such risks. Special people that do special jobs!
It’s clear from your piece that acceptance of a settlement offer negated any potential for litigation, though there was obvious multi-party negligence at play. The owner of the boat I’m sure is distraught by this tragedy, but it appears he could have done much more financially for the families.
I’m sure it’s against the rules and regs of the ST, but someone should put together a gofundme initiative for contributions to the families and their heirs. I live above the Pike Place Market and am a regular beneficiary of the wonderful fish avail in Seattle and the PNW. We often take for granted what went into the journey to get it here.
— Stuart K. Marvin
Dear Mr. Bernton,
Thank you for your in depth article about the Destination, its crew, its sinking, and Alaska crabbing. I was born in Seattle and raised in Ballard at a time when commercial fishing was an integral part of the city’s culture and economy. I also remember when The Times was a powerhouse, regularly featuring in depth articles and world class investigative reporting. It is a shadow of its former self, but I hope that management continues to support the kind of reporting that went into this article. Great work!
— Carol Riddell, Edmonds, WA
Good Morning Mr. Bernton,
Just wanted to compliment you on the thoroughness and attention to detail in your article.
How tragic. Despite the fact it may never prevent further loss of life at sea, I’m hopeful your report will bring further, and badly needed, attention to the dangers in the industry.
My butt’s in muggy Miami but my heart’s in snowy Seattle. Great Monday morning reading.
Good job and stay warm!
— Roger Reguera, Sergeant
Special Patrol Bureau, Tactical Operations Section
Incident Management Team
Rapid Deployment Force/Mobile Field Force
Thank you for your thoughtful and engaging article on the F/V Destination sinking in the Seattle Times. You are doing the crab fleet a service by keeping safety in the forefront of our minds.
ABSC has added your article to our website as one of our featured articles.
Thanks again — Jamie
Jamie Goen, Alaska Bering Sea Crab group