Marine Board of Investigation into Sinking of Alaska Ranger to Continue

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Coast Guard (USCG) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Marine Board of Investigation into the March 23 sinking of the Alaska Ranger reconvened in the San Juan-Whidbey Room of the Red Lion Hotel at
The goal of the Marine Board is to identify the causal events of the casualty and provide recommendations to prevent or mitigate future casualties.
The board heard testimony from Capt. Steve Slotvig, David Hull, Steve Harris and Cristobal Galeana.  Today's testimony will help to establish conditions aboard the Alaska Ranger prior to its sinking. 
Capt. Steve Slotvig commanded the Alaska Ranger for two years before leaving the vessel in March to captain the Alaska Patriot for the Fishing Company of .  Capt. Slotvig testified to training procedures and operations during his tenure as ship's master.  He stated his crew staged regular training aboard the vessel and he was confident everybody knew what to do in an emergency.  Capt. Slotvig confirmed the Alaska Ranger's fishmaster did occasionally take the helm of the vessel and that he sometimes argued with the fishmaster over various operational decisions.  While denying he ever witnessed drinking of alcohol aboard the vessel, Capt. Slotvig did admit crewmembers had come to him with concerns about alcohol usage on board the vessel.  He also admitted to speaking with Rodney Lundy, second assistant engineer of the Alaska Ranger, about drinking alcohol aboard the vessel.
David Hull, a survivor of the sinking who spoke Wednesday, came forward to identify photos and video he submitted into evidence during his original testimony.  The photo and video files were of the Alaska Ranger while underway in ice earlier this year.
Steve Harris, a naval architecture engineer who examined the Alaska Ranger during one of its port calls, testified to structural and stability requirements needed on vessels of its type.  Harris also stated he had overseen repairs to areas of the vessel's internal spaces including one of its ballast tanks.
Cristobal Galeana, who worked aboard the Alaska Ranger as a processor and a deckhand since 2005 and survived the sinking, was the last witness of the day.  Galeana, who was also part of the emergency squad, was in the galley when a crewmember notified him the vessel was taking on water.  Galeana went to the factory deck to secure the hatches and discovered water flooding in the tool room.  He stated that, in 2007, an after storeroom had needed repair after taking on water. 


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