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AMSEA Blog

NTSB Determines Cause of the F/V Scandies Rose


The National Transportation Safety Board has released the findings of its investigation into the 2019 sinking of the F/V Scandies Rose. The NTSB has found no fault with the vessel, captain, or crew that contributed to the sinking. Rather, they found that the information captain Gary Cobban, Jr. and the crew used when loading the vessel and making the decision to leave port, failed to provide the information they needed to ensure the safety of the vessel and to protect their lives. The factors resulting in the vessel disaster were:

  • Lack of accurate weather data for the accident area;

  • The vessel’s inaccurate stability instructions;

  • Stability regulations that do not provide guidance on how to apply ice accumulation on crab pots or account for reported asymmetric ice accumulation on exposed vessel surfaces and pot stacks;

  • Regulations that do not require stability instructions to present the accumulated ice thicknesses used to calculate vessel stability, which, if communicated to masters, would better prepare them in decision making.

The NTSB has released a five-page synopsis of their determination, findings, and recommendations. You can download it at https://bit.ly/3qzH792 .


Jessica Hathaway at National Fishermen has published an excellent summary titled, What sank the Scandies Rose? NTSB says it wasn’t operator error. Rather than duplicate her efforts, we'll direct you to the linked article and jump straight to the NTSB's recommendations.



Recommendations — which are not binding — include:

  • That the U.S. Coast Guard conduct a study to evaluate the effects of icing, including asymmetrical accumulation on crab pots and crab pot stacks; disseminate findings of the study to the industry; and establish regulatory calculations for fishing vessels to account for the effects of icing, including asymmetrical accumulation on a crab pot or pot stacks.

  • That the Coast Guard revise Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations 28.530 to require that stability instructions include the icing amounts used to calculate stability criteria.

  • That the Coast Guard develop an oversight program for stability instructions of commercial fishing vessels that are not required to develop a load line certificate, for accuracy and compliance with regulations.

  • That the North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners Association notify its fleet of the dangers of icing and flawed stability requirements.

  • That NOAA make an experimental website that reports more detailed icing conditions and predictions fully operational and accessible for commercial use, and that the agency increase observational resources necessary for improved forecasts in the area.

  • That the Coast Guard require the use of personal locator beacons for all personnel employed on vessels in the coastal, Great Lakes and ocean service to enhance their chances of survival.

  • That the Coast Guard require all owners, masters, and chief engineers of commercial fishing industry vessels to receive training and demonstrate competency in vessel stability, watertight integrity, subdivision, and use of vessel stability information regardless of plans for implementing the other training provisions of the 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act.

Regarding the final recommendation, we will note that the 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act requires that fishing vessel captains obtain hands-on training in vessel stability and hold a valid certificate issued under a course meeting the requirements of the 2010 Act. In the eleven years since the passage of the 2010 Act, the Coast Guard has yet to issue the regulations needed to enforce this requirement. AMSEA has a U.S. Coast Guard-accepted Fishing Vessel Stability course. Please contact us at coursecoord@amsea.org or (907) 747-3287 if you would like to bring Fishing Vessel Stability training to a port near you.



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