Scandies Rose hearing day 4: F/V Scandies Rose stability report likely flawed, according to naval architect

The Marine Board of Investigation’s hearing on the fatal sinking of the F/V Scandies Rose continued today, opening with testimony from Andrew Lawrence, a naval architect and expert on ship stability. He was asked to produce a stability report on the boat after the tragedy and found that it was starkly different from the ones produced on the Scandies Rose in 1988 and 2019.

According to his model, the master instructions detailing safe stability conditions for the boat underestimated the surface area for the crab pots by 25%. They also did not define the bulwarks of the vessel, did not include down flooding points- which are points that water can infiltrate through, such as engine exhaust vents- and even had incorrect placement of crab holding tanks on the vessel.

The older stability model for the F/V Scandies Rose (left) compared to Lawrence’s new version (right.)

Lawrence said adding downflooding points to the older model immediately rendered some of the loading conditions unsafe. The model Lawrence provided also found that the considered max load of 208 crab pots on the vessel would have failed regulatory stability.

Building on the testimony from naval architects presented yesterday, Lawrence stated that the calculations for icing conditions assumed a symmetrical buildup of ice, which is not realistic. Icing typically occurs in the direction wind is blowing, leading to a buildup of weight on one side of the boat. This naturally increases the risk of rolling over.

Lawrence’s testimony was followed with testimony from Cory Fanning, an engineer on a fishing boat who used to work on the Scandies Rose. He described the boat as a “warship” and a “Cadillac” in an earlier interview with the Coast Guard and reaffirmed those feelings Thursday morning, meaning that he thought it was an excellent fishing vessel. He spoke highly of the crew and captain of the Scandies Rose.

The Scandies Rose sank on New Year’s Eve of 2019, around 10 p.m. shortly after leaving port in Kodiak. Five of the seven crew were lost. The vessel sank just south of Sutwick Island.

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