Pacesetter (fishing vessel)

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Flag of the United States.svgUnited States
Name: Pacesetter
Owner: Dale Lindsay and Matt Pope
Operator: Pacesetter Mariner inc
Builder: Signal Ship Repair, Mobile, Alabama.
Launched: 1976
Completed: 1976
Acquired: 1976(as Priscilla Ann), 1979 (as Coastal Glacier), 1988(as Pacesetter
In service: 1976
Out of service: 1996
Homeport: Seattle, Washington
Fate: Disappeared in January 27, 1996
Status: Missing
General characteristics
Class and type: crab boat
Tonnage: 193 tons
Length: 127 ft (39 m)
Capacity: 114 pots (misinformation)
Crew: 7
Notes: worst accident in the 1996 Alaskan snow crab fishery

The F/V Pacesetter was a 127 foot, steel hulled, Bering Sea crab boat, launched in 1976 as the "Priscilla Ann." In 1979, it was renamed the "Coastal Glacier." The vessel was eventually acquired by Matt Pope and Dale Lindsay and renamed "Pacesetter". Pacesetter was reported missing in 1996, by the Seventeenth district US Coast Guard of Kodiak, Alaska. The search ended with no sign of the boat or its seven-man crew. The loss of the Pacesetter was noted as the worst sinking in the Alaskan 1996 snow crab fishery.

As F/V Pacesetter[edit]

The boat was owned by Pacesetter Mariner, Inc., a family business. The captain was Matthew Pope. The crew was Stephen Mack, Richard Anderson, Michael Kirk Ericson Sr., Byron Koesterman, Elias Pena and Stanley Estesad. The Pacesetter had a normal "mud boat" stern like other Bender crab boats. The wheelhouse had just been raised and a full maintenance and paint routine was done in the MINI Shipyard and Foss Shipyards the summer before the boat was lost.

The disappearance[edit]

On 27 January 1996 at 00:32, Pacesetter was reported missing. USCG Kodiak, Alaska picked up an EPIRB Distress beacon. All Coast Guard assets were sent out to find the missing crabber. At 6:40 am a HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter sighted an epirb beacon. At 7:12 am nearby vessels spotted a liferaft with no sign of the crew. At 7:47 a second liferaft was found partially submerged and not inflated. At 8:06 a buoy float was found which had the boats name on it. After a two-day search the Coast Guard called off the search.

Similar incidents[edit]

On 19 September 1987 the 127 ft stern trawler Nordfjord disappeared without a trace after sending a brief Mayday with 5 lost. On 29 January 1989 the 98 feet (30 m) crabber Vestfjord sent a mayday about ice accumulation and was lost. On 11 February 1991 the 86 feet (26 m) Barbarossa vanished with a crew of six. The Nordfjord was also built by Signal Ship Repairs

A year earlier on January 15 the Seattle-based crab boat Northwest Mariner was found capsized. The boat had six crew members. A liferaft was found next to the inverted boat with two unconscious crew members who then died of hypothermia. The four others were never found.


A partner boat reported seeing the Pacesetter roll from side to side. The Coast Guard found that the vessel was overloaded with crab pots. Pope had loaded the boat with pots in Dutch Harbor to the boat's supposed maximum. He then left the harbor and picked up an estimated 22 more bait pots on his way to the fishing grounds. Witnesses reported that the boat was rolling so hard you could see the rolling chalks on the bottom of the boat. From the testimony of crews from other boats and pot yard records, the Coast Guard ruled the vessel was overloaded and traveling in adverse weather conditions when it heeled, rolled and sank.


News articles:

Incident Report

Ship Info