Alaska News

Coast Guard calls off search for 2 missing from ship that sank near Dutch Harbor

The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday evening that it had suspended its search for the two missing crew members from the 117-foot ship that sank in the waters off Dutch Harbor Tuesday night.

The Coast Guard has not released the identities of the two missing men. The two men had traveled in a crew of five on the ship, the Exito, that was transporting cargo for Trident Seafoods between Dutch Harbor and the Aleutian community of Akutan.

It was reported around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday that the ship began taking on water about 14 miles northeast of Dutch Harbor. Three men were rescued by the good Samaritan crew of the Afognac Strait and taken to Dutch Harbor, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard and boat crews continued to search for the two missing men Wednesday and Thursday. The Coast Guard made the decision to suspend its search late Thursday afternoon, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Meredith Manning.

"The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one to make and is done with great care and deliberation after thoroughly evaluating our search efforts and the situation," said Capt. Laura Dickey, chief of staff of the 17th Coast Guard District, in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing men."

Manning said Thursday that the ship was completely under water and could not be salvaged. What led to the ship sinking remains under investigation, she said.

The Coast Guard said in a statement Thursday evening that the fuel from the ship was expected to dissipate within six hours and there had been no oil sheen or any other indication of pollution. The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the area for potential pollution impacts, according to the statement.

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.