Ronnberg spent about 27 months building the model, and estimates he spent 5, hours getting every detail right. While he built the wooden hull according to design drawings provided by naval architect Guido Perla of Seattle, he had to make his own drawings and patterns to craft the machinery and equipment, most of which are cast in metal. Ronnberg used cheesecloth and tulle to make the net and spent untold hours fashioning the chafing gear out of acrylic yarn, which he knotted in bunches before separating the strands by hand.
He studied photographs and films of the actual vessel at sea, and made detailed figures of people dressed in appropriate working gear in the factory, on the deck, in the fish hold, in the galley, and on the bridge. The model is populated with figures, 1, individual fish, and several masses of fish in the cod end of the net.
Everything on the model is painted by hand. The Alaska Ocean itself is a foot-long vessel in the Seattle-based catcher-processor fleet. Workers catch, process, package, and freeze groundfish—mostly pollock and Pacific whiting—in the Bering Sea and in the waters off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
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The vessel can harvest about metric tons of fish per day and can freeze over , pounds of fish product daily. The idea to build the Alaska Ocean began in the late s. This was in advance of the American Fisheries Act of , which sought to increase American ownership in the fleet by requiring that vessels be American-built, owned, and operated.
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Although Hendricks sought bids from several American shipyards for his new venture, there were none at the time that could handle the scope of the vessel he envisioned. Eventually, he worked with a shipbuilder in Norway to expand and rebuild an American oil supply vessel.
The Alaska Ocean arrived in Anacortes in the summer of and began fishing that fall with a largely local crew. He thanked the Coast Guard for three days of searches to try to find signs of the crew, and noted that he has a son currently fishing in Alaska.
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Wilson, who lives in Edmonds, spent hours responding to a wide-range of questions about his own experience in the Alaska fisheries and the lost vessel and crew. Wilson grew up in Sand Point, Alaska, where the Destination is registered. He started fishing at the age of 8 in salmon harvests and had years of experience in skippering boats in the crab harvest.
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For the past 23 years, Hathway has run the Destination, with Wilson offering shore-side support. Wilson said the boat was put in dry-dock for maintenance every other year, and he did not note any major safety concerns about the Destination. That had been remedied by snugging up a few bolts, according to Wilson. Wilson did not speak to Hathaway after the vessel left Dutch Harbor on Feb.
The vessel went down early on the morning of Feb. George, where it has now been located on the sea bottom.
In the days ahead, the risks posed by the chill, winter weather are expected to be explored through testimony from the crew from other vessels, as well as a National Weather Service official. News Alert.
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