Alaska News

Good Samaritans rescue 46 people who abandoned fishing ship off Aleutians

Forty-six people abandoned a sinking fishing vessel shortly before noon Tuesday and were rescued by merchant ships that responded to a U.S. Coast Guard emergency broadcast, an official said.

There were no reports of injuries.

The 229-foot trawler Alaska Juris was taking on water Tuesday evening in the Bering Sea, said Lt. Joseph Schlosser of the Coast Guard District 17 command center in Juneau. The boat's occupants, all 46, were equipped with survival suits and abandoned ship in three life rafts, he said.

Alaska Juris was dead in the water more than 150 miles northwest of Adak, the official said.

Two of the life rafts were secured to the sinking vessel, an effort meant to keep them from drifting, Schlosser said. A third raft with 18 occupants was not able to get secured or the line broke, he said.

The merchant vessel Spar Canis responded to the scene and recovered 28 people from two rafts, according to Schlosser.

"The life raft that went adrift, all 18 members in that raft, have been successfully recovered by a good Samaritan vessel by the name of Vienna Express," he said.


All crew members were aboard the two ships as of 8:20 p.m. and on their way to Adak, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson.

It was unknown if the Alaska Juris was fully submerged. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation in Adak told the Coast Guard it would monitor the vessel, Steenson said. Conditions on scene were reported as calm seas and limited visibility, according to the Coast Guard.

Preliminary information suggests mechanical problems in the ship's engine room led to the sinking, Schlosser said.

Public records show the vessel was owned by the late Karena Adler, who also owned the Fishing Co. of Alaska of Renton, Washington, before she died in January. The company's Alaska Ranger sank in the Bering Sea in 2008 with the loss of five lives, including its captain. The Coast Guard concluded in 2011 that Adler's company failed to properly maintain the Ranger.

Also in 2011, a crew member on the Alaska Juris was killed at sea when he was struck by a snapped cable.

Jerzy Shedlock

Jerzy Shedlock is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.

Annie Zak

Annie Zak was a business reporter for the ADN between 2015 and 2019.