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Pioneering Crab Boat F/V North American Sinks at the Pier

North American
Image courtesy USCG

Published May 14, 2024 6:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday morning, a well-known Bering Sea crab fishing vessel sank at a pier on the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle. 

Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received a call about the casualty at 0730 hours Tuesday morning. The crabber North American had partially sunk alongside a pier on the south side of the canal, east of the Ballard Bridge. 

Responders from Seattle Fire installed a containment boom around the vessel to prevent petroleum pollution, and a dive team is working on plugging vents and reducing the risk of additional fuel discharges. A second layer of boom has been deployed to further reduce the chance of a fuel slick escaping. 

The vessel can carry up to a maximum of 32,500 gallons of diesel in her tanks, according to the Coast Guard, though the actual amount aboard at the time of the sinking may be lower. So far, there have been no reports of harm to wildlife.

Images courtesy USCG

Global Diving and Salvage is the pollution response contractor for the incident, and its team will be removing the remaining petroleum on board and transferring it to storage tanks on shore. The Coast Guard is monitoring the progress of the response, and an investigation into the cause of the sinking is under way. 

North American is a 91-foot crab vessel based out of Seattle, and she was a pioneering vessel when delivered in 1975. Her original owner had a long history of technical innovation and conservation work. She was also one of the many crabbing vessels to appear on the reality show Deadliest Catch, with a guest role in Season 4.