The Coast Guard’s F/V Scandies Rose hearing continued today, beginning with testimony from Noelle Runyon of the National Weather Service in Anchorage. She was asked about how weather phenomena like freezing spray are forecast, how her office took feedback from mariners, and on the weather during the night of the sinking. She stated that the weather was typical of a strong storm.
Ed Ehler of Lovrics Seacraft also provided testimony. He had done drydock work on the F/V Scandies Rose. He was asked questions on maintenance and repairs the vessel had been through, as well as the condition of the vessel, which he described as “better than most.”
The hearing then called on Erling Jacobsen, a maritime surveyor. He was asked what he made of the crew and the vessel’s condition; he said the condition of the Scandies Rose was excellent. He also said he thought highly of Scandies Rose’s Captain Gary Cobban.
After a lunch recess, the investigators continued with Jacobsen with questions about his surveyor report on the Scandies in 2019. Investigators had several questions about water sealing around pipe and chutes, hull treatments, and bilge alarms, among questions about the extent of Jacobsen’s surveys.
Next up was Jordan Young, a welder with Highmark Marine Fabrication, who completed some work on the Scandies Rose a few weeks before it sank. Young walked the investigators through corrosion and leaks around the boat’s waste chute, that the NTSB called “a point of interest,” which were patched, but not thoroughly repaired, while in drydock earlier in 2019. Young repaired the chute.
The final witness of the day was Kerry Welsh, a project manager with Global Diving and Salvage. Welsh was in charge of conducting an underwater survey of the Scandies vessel in February 2020. While Welsh’s crew was able to locate the ship, strong currents, icy weather, and debris made surveying difficult. However, divers were able to take some pictures and recordings of the wreckage, which show that the boat likely hit the seafloor on its starboard side.
Day three witnesses will include a group of naval architects and engineers on Wednesday morning, and testimony from one of the survivors, Jon Lawler, in the afternoon.
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.