By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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The 40-foot Maverick, homeported in LaPush, and 90-foot Viking Storm, out of Vancouver, B.C., collided in heavy fog 35 miles west of LaPush at about 4:30 a.m. Sept. 28, 2012.
Three of the four crew members of the Maverick abandoned the rapidly sinking vessel before it sank and were rescued by the crew of the Viking Storm crew within five minutes. The survivors were taken ashore in a U.S. Coast Guard rescue boat.
A fourth crew member, Kelly Dickerson, 33, was trapped in a forward compartment of the Maverick and was presumed drowned after a daylong search by Coast Guard boats and a helicopter.
The Coast Guard investigation has not been completed, said Petty Officer Katelyn Tyson, Coast Guard spokeswoman.
In the marine investigation report released Tuesday, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said the Maverick had been drifting overnight without a crew member on lookout duty.
Meanwhile, the mate of the Viking Storm “had not maintained a proper watch” and “left the wheelhouse unattended just prior to the collision.”
The mate had experienced “accumulated fatigue” before the collision, the report said.
“At the same time as the mate on the Viking Storm left the wheelhouse, one of the deckhands on the Maverick got up to use the washroom and, through the deckhouse windows, noticed a bright light illuminating the fog,” the report said.
“After returning from the washroom, the deckhand continued to monitor the light through the deckhouse windows for approximately one minute. The light was blinding until it passed above the deckhouse windows, at which time the Viking Storm's bow wake became visible. The Maverick's deckhand then shouted a warning to the master.”
The report determined that high-pressure sodium lights on the Viking Storm impaired the vision and ability of the Maverick's deckhand to “determine the vessel's proximity and delayed his taking of evasive action.”
At the same time, the mate of the Viking Storm returned to the wheelhouse and noticed the Maverick about 100 feet directly ahead.
The mate slammed the main engine into full reverse and made a hard starboard turn.
“On the Maverick, the master heard the deckhand's warning, but he had no time to take evasive action,” the report said.
“Within seconds, the Viking Storm's bow struck the Maverick's port side at an angle of about 90 degrees.”
The Maverick rolled onto its starboard side and flooded.
No sound signals were used by either vessel despite the heavy fog. Coast Guard officials estimated that visibility was about 40 feet on the morning the accident.
Dickerson's father, Darby Dickerson of Port Angeles, was among the three survivors.
The Viking Storm had a full load of 130 tons of hagfish caught in Canadian waters that it was taking to Grays Harbor when the collision occurred.
Both vessels had radar.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at email@example.com.