ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Four crew members died Sunday and another was missing after a Seattle-based fishing boat sank in high seas off Alaska's Aleutian Islands, the Coast Guard said.
The dead were among 47 crew members who abandoned ship after the 184-foot Alaska Ranger developed problems. Forty-two crew members were recovered safely, but a search was continuing for the missing person, said Chief Petty Officer Barry Lane.
The vessel started taking on water shortly before 3 a.m. after losing control of its rudder 120 miles west of Dutch Harbor, which is on Unalaska Island.
In a statement, the ship's owner, the Fishing Co. of Alaska, said it did "not have sufficient information to determine why the vessel foundered."
Seas with up to 8-foot waves and 25-knot winds were reported at the time of the sinking, Lane said. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the accident.
The Fishing Co. identified those killed as ship's captain Eric Peter Jacobsen, chief engineer Daniel Cook, mate David Silveira and crewman Byron Carrillo. Their ages and hometowns were not released.
State environmental regulators were notified that the ship was carrying 145,000 gallons of diesel when it sank in deep seas, according to Leslie Pearson, emergency response manager for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
An oil sheen covered an area of a quarter mile by a half mile, Coast Guard spokesman Ray Dwyer said.
The Fishing Co. was part of a group that was fined $254,500 in 2006. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service said the group committed numerous violations, such as tampering with or destroying equipment used by industry observers.