Part 1 - Back story on the history of the Deep Sea in relation to the King Crab fishery.
Part 2 - Begins the narrative "Saga of the Deep Sea" as written by my Dad.
Part 3 - Conclusion of "Saga of the Deep Sea."
Part 4 - Connecting the Dots
Part 4 - Connecting the Dots
[ I have heard from at least two folk who worked on the Deep Sea. I would like them to contact me and perhaps share their experiences here in Oil-Electric.]
As I wrote in Part One, I was gobsmacked to learn that not only the Deep Sea was "still around," but that she burned and sank about 8 miles from me, as the crow flies.
Penn Cove Shellfish, where the derelict was close aboard.
As I understand it, a fellow by the name of Rory Westmoreland, a Renton (Washington State) scrap dealer, bought the 65-year-old Deep Sea through a Craigslist ad posted by the Port of Seattle. The Port seized the Deep Sea in 2010 after the previous owner, Factotum Fisheries, fell six months behind in moorage fees at Fisherman's Terminal in Ballard Washington.
Washington State has a derelict vessel removal program.
While the State had contacted Mr. Westmoreland, and began sanctions against him, the vessel caught fire and sank, May 12-13, 2012. She ended up resting at approximately 60 feet.
This was the scene at Penn Cove, Sunday afternoon June 3rd, 2012. Two General Construction Company (Seattle) barge cranes, one 300-ton capacity, the other 100-ton capacity, tended by the Island Tug & Barge (Seattle) Island Voyager, are struggling to lift the Deep Sea from the muddy bottom of Penn Cove.
There were many people lining the bluff, with cars parked precariously on a basic road with no shoulders. A least one TV station, had a microwave truck set up, and the normally peaceful Penn Cove was insulted with a variety of news choppers circling overhead.
Birchfield Shipbuilding & Boiler Company built the Deep Sea. Birchfield was located on the west side of the Blair Waterway, in the port of Tacoma Washington. Birchfield made cast iron, steel tube and steel scotch marine boilers, and a variety of small craft. Deep Sea built for:
• Deep Sea Trawlers, Inc.
• Year: 1947
• IMO: 6506226
• Length: 128 feet
• Beam: 26.5 feet
• Gross Tonnage: 197
• Birchfield Shipbuilding and Boiler Company, Tacoma Washington, went out of business in the early 60's.
• Lowell Wakefield passed away in 1977. However, a mountain on Afognak Island memorializes him.
• The Deep Sea was consumed by fire and sank in Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, May 12-13, 2012. As of this writing, the cause of the fire has not been made public. There was no one living aboard at the time of the fire.
• Wednesday June 7, the 2,250 hp Taurus (Dunlap Towing, Seattle) passing through Hiram Chittenden Locks in Seattle, delivering the Deep Sea to Stabbert Maritime Yacht & Ship in Ballard Washington for dismantling.
• July 20. Final piece of hull lifted out of the dry dock.
And so an important vessel in Pacific Northwest maritime history is gone. Built as the first trawler for the Alaskan King Crab fishery, and soon converted to become the first floating King Crab processing vessel. Played a major role in bringing representatives together from the United States, Russia and Japan for the purpose of establishing harvesting boundaries and regulations.
How fortunate for us that my Dad took that posting. I am very pleased to share his story with you.
Finally, I appreciate access granted to photos by Larry Altos, Washington State Department of Ecology. Without the photos, I could never have visualized this story so completely.