On February 26, contact was lost with the 700 ton squid fishing vessel Hsiang Fu Chun. The Hsiang Fu Chun and its 49 crew was sailing in the South Atlantic some 1,700 miles off the Falkland Islands when it contacted its owners. The vessel reported it was taking on water from the deck when contact was lost. Weather conditions in the area were reported to be poor. Authorities state that the Hsiang Fu Chun was equipped with an emergency beacon, but no signal was sent. Because of its remote location, the search for the fishing vessel has been limited. Three other fishing vessels in the area have been mobilized in the search effort.
On October 24, the NTCL barge broke free from its towline and went adrift in the Beaufort Sea. The 134 foot long self-propelled barge was under tow headed to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Canada after delivering supplies when it encountered a heavy storm in the Beaufort Sea. When the towline parted, the tug continued on its way to Tuktoyaktuk instead of risking the crew in the storm. The tug was able to reach port safely while the barge was driven westerly by the storm.
Canadian and US authorities dispatched aircraft to monitor the barge. Reports state that there where little resources in the area as ice is quickly forming in the Beaufort Sea. The barge owner, Northern Transportation Company, has attempted to rescue the vessel, but can’t find any available tugs in the area.
Five days later, the barge was last spotted off Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. However, flights during the following days were unable to locate the barge. Authorities believe the vessel could have frozen in the ice some 10 miles offshore or possibly sank. Flights will continue and a GPS tracker will be dropped on the vessel if it spotted again. Reports state there are some concerns about pollution as some 3,500 litres of diesel fuel were still in the barge’s tanks.
The new fishing vessel Katmai departed Mobile, Alabama on Febuary 18, 1972. The Katmai was brand new from the Bender Ship Building yard and was heading for a long trip to its new home port at Anchorage, Alaska. On board was Captain Joos and a deckhand along with the Captain’s wife and eight-year old child. After it left port, the vessel was never sighted again. When it failed to arrive at the Panama Canal, it was presumed the vessel had sunk somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico.
Forty years later, the research vessel Falkor discovered an unknown sonar contact. The vessel sent down its ROV to investigate and found the sunken Katmai in 8,920 feet of water some 200 miles off the shore of Alabama. A short investigation failed to provide any clues to why the vessel sank with all hands.