WASHINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board concluded the formal public hearing proceedings into the sinking of the commercial fishing vessel Scandies Rose today. The joint investigation board reviewed and considered evidence related to the loss of the fishing vessel, which occurred on Dec. 31, 2019.
The board heard from 43 witnesses, who provided testimony into the conditions influencing the vessel prior to and at the time of the casualty. Testimony also focused on weather, icing, training fisheries, the Scandies Rose’s material condition, owner and operator organizational structures and culture, the regulatory compliance record of the vessel, Coast Guard policy, and practices related to vessel design, engineering and inspections. Additionally, 130 pieces of evidence were identified as exhibits of public record regarding the investigation, and they have been posted for the public to view. Due to ongoing risk mitigation efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, and out of an abundance of caution for the public, witnesses, and families, physical participation was limited and coordinated in advance. Every effort was made to make the hearing accessible to the public in real time.
“The public hearing is a crucial element of the investigation process,” explained Marine Board of Investigation Chairman Capt. Greg Callaghan, U.S. Coast Guard. “This hearing presented and confirmed many facts and details surrounding the events that led to the sinking of Scandies Rose and loss of five lives. The goal of this investigation is to improve any practice, procedure, policy or regulation that can prevent the loss of lives in the future. A lot of time and effort has been invested already and we have more work to do before this formal investigation is complete. To the members of the public, particularly those who e-mailed the Marine Board during the hearing, I thank you for sharing your time and thoughts during testimony; that information will be evaluated by the Board.”
The Board will now compile its findings into a report of investigation which will be publicly released after the convening authority, the Commandant, evaluates the recommendations and releases a final action memo outlining the Coast Guard’s position on the Board’s recommendations.
The formal hearing convened daily from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. PST, Feb. 22 through 26, and March 1 through 5. The hearing was broadcast live as a matter of public record. Recordings of the proceedings are available at https://livestream.com/USCGinvestigations. Documents, exhibits, helpful videos, Board biographies, and other hearing information is available at https://www.news.uscg.mil/news-by-region/headquarters/scandies-rose/.