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Open doors faulted in fatal 2008 fishing boat sinking

Becky Bohrer
Katmai fishing vessel crew member Harold Appling, who uses the first name Ryan, waits to be called to testify to a Coast Guard investigation into the sinking of the boat at an Anchorage hotel on October 28, 2008.
Photo by MARC LESTER / Anchorage Daily News
L-R, F/V Katmai survivors Adam Foster, Captain Henry "Joe" Blake and Harold Appling gather Monday, October 27, 2008 in Anchorage, Alaska as the Coast Guard conducts a Marine Board Investigation into the sinking that claimed the lives of seven of the eleven member crew of the Katmai.
Photo courtesy of Katmai Fisheries / Seattle Times
Ron Martindale of Camas, Wa., center, father of dead crewman Jake Gilman, thanks helicopter pilot Lt. Zach Koehler, left, and rescue swimmer Petty Officer Dave Coats of the U. S. Coast Guard following a press conference Friday afternoon October 24, 2008 at Kulis Air National Guard Base.
Photo by ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Katmai fishing vessel crew member Harold Appling, who uses the name Ryan, talks to a television reporter after testifying about the sinking of the boat on October 28, 2008. The Katmai deck boss Guy Schroder listens at right before he makes his statement to Coast Guard investigators.
Photo by MARC LESTER / Anchorage Daily News
U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Malcolm McLellan points during the Marine Board of Investigation into the sinking of the fishing vessel Katmai on Monday, October 27, 2008, at the Hilton Anchorage hotel.
Crewman Adam Foster testifies at a U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation into the sinking of the fishing vessel Katmai at the Hilton Anchorage hotel on Monday, October 27, 2008.
Ron Martindale of Camas, Wa., right, father of dead crewman Jake Gilman, listens as members of the U. S. Coast Guard and the Alaska Air National Guard describe their rescue efforts in the sinking of the F/V Katmai Friday afternoon October 24, 2008 at Kulis Air National Guard Base. Sitting with Martindale is friend Tom Knight. Afterward, Martindale thanked the crews for their work.
Photo by ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
U. S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer Petty Officer Dave Coats, center, describes his experiences in the water during rescue efforts in the sinking of the F/V Katmai during a press conference Friday afternoon October 24, 2008 at Kulis Air National Guard Base. Flanking him are helicopter pilot Lt. Zach Koehler, left, and mission coordinator Lt. MIke Woodrum, right.
Photo by ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Katmai fishing vessel deck boss Guy Schroder describes the level of the water in the emergency raft as it was adrift after the boat sank during his testimony to Coast Guard investigators on October 28, 2008.
Survivors of the sinking of the fishing vessel Katmai greet each other between their testimonies to the Coast Guard in Anchorage, Alaska, on October 10, 2008. Harold Appling, who goes by the first name Ryan, is at left. Deck boss Guy Schroeder is at right.
Photo by MARC LESTER / Anchorage Daily News

Watertight doors left open on an overloaded fishing vessel during a storm likely caused the boat to sink off the coast of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, according to a report released Tuesday by federal investigators.

The Katmai, a 93-foot vessel, sank in October 2008 with a crew of 11 aboard. Four men survived in a life raft, but five others died. Two crew members were never found.

The National Transportation Safety Board's report said the doors from the main deck to the processing space and lazarette allowed water to get in, leading to flooding and sinking. A lazarette is a storage place below deck at the stern of the boat.

The report also faulted the boat's master, citing that his decisions to continue operations as the storm approached and to overload the boat contributed to the accident. The Katmai was carrying about 120,000 pounds of frozen cod, the board said, twice the weight listed in a stability report for the vessel.

The board said another contributing factor was the failure of the vessel's owner to ensure that information given to the master on keeping the boat stable was current and to see that he understood the information and operated the ship accordingly.

NTSB said the boat's last stability analysis was in 1996, and did not account for such things as a change in fishery from shrimp to Pacific cod.

There were no mandatory stability standards that applied to the vessel, NTSB said.

The boat was originally built as a shrimp trawler for the Gulf of Mexico and was later modified. It was owned by Seattle-based Katmai Fisheries Inc., which the NTSB said is no longer in business.

PDF: NTSB report on Katmai sinking
Video: Coast Guard rescue at sea
By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press