A special episode of the Discovery Channel show “Deadliest Catch” focuses on the 2017 sinking of the Seattle-based crab boat Destination. It will re-air at 8 p.m. Tuesday for cable customers in the Seattle area.
In the episode, Skipper Sig Hansen gets a naval architect to review his boat’s stability when carrying a full load of crab pots. A Coast Guard investigation of the Destination concluded that overloading of crab pots — as well as heavy icing at sea — played a big role in the Destination going down in February 2017, killing all six crew members.
“You know, when I think about the Destination, to me, it wasn’t just another boat. These guys were our friends. We know all of them,” said Hansen, who lives in Washington and is one of the most high-profile crabbers on the show. “It makes you think: If it could happen to them, can it happen to me?”
The Seattle Times chronicled the Destination’s sinking in an investigative series, titled ‘No Return,’ published earlier this year. The Times investigation found the owner of the Destination had failed to follow through on a recommendation to have an updated stability test conducted by a naval architect in the aftermath of changes to the boat.
The old stability report assumed the steel-framed pots used to catch crab weighed 700 pounds each, but a pot later retrieved from the sea bottom was found to weigh 840 pounds. A Coast Guard analysis later concluded that the vessel — due to its large load — failed to meet federal stability regulations.
The special episode of the popular, long-running series explores the impact of the Destination’s sinking on the Bering Sea skippers.
In an interview on the show, Hansen said the naval architect determined that his maximum load of pots should be trimmed from 170 to 165.
“That’s a number I can live with. That’s a small price to pay. At least I know that my crew, my family, my boat is safe,” Hansen said.
The Destination crew members who died when the boat went down were Captain Jeff Hathaway, Darrik Seibold, Charles Glen Jones, Kai Hamik, Raymond Vincler and Larry O’Grady.
Hansen said he thinks the tragedy has increased awareness about the risks of the fishery, and that could save lives in the future.
“They didn’t die in vain,” he said.