Lost At Sea
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Titel: Lost At Sea
Verlag: Touchstone August 2, 2000
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On February 3, 1983, the men aboard Americus and Altair, two state-of-the-art crabbing vessels, docked in their home port of Anacortes, Washington, prepared to begin a grueling three-month season fishing in the notorious Bering Sea. Eleven days later, on Valentine's Day, the overturned hull of the Americus was found drifting in calm seas, with no record of even a single distress call or trace of its seven-man crew. The Altair vanished altogether. Despite the desperate search that followed, no evidence of the vessel or its crew would ever be found. Fourteen men were lost. And the tragedy would mark the worst disaster in the history of U.S. commercial fishing.
With painstaking research and spellbinding prose, acclaimed journalist Patrick Dillon brings to life the men who were lost, the dangers that commercial fishermen face, the haunting memories of the families left behind...and reconstructs the intense investigation that ensued, which for the first time exposed the dangers of an industry that would never again be the same.
In February 1983, two crabbing vessels set out from port in Alaskan waters at the peak of crabbing season. Filled to the brim with crab pots, both ships, the Americus and the Altair, were considered state-of-the-art for the industry: each only a few years old, equipped with thousands of dollars' worth of lifesaving equipment. Neither ship returned to port, and none of their 14 crew members was ever seen again. It was the worst commercial fishing accident in America's history.
In Lost at Sea, Patrick Dillon examines how the Americus/Altair disaster is indicative of the problems with American fishing, an industry that annually tops the list of "Most Dangerous Occupations," and what has been done in the tragedy's aftermath. During his research, including a season as a crew member aboard a fishing boat, Dillon encountered a murky sea full of men fiercely opposed to government regulations, an industry that always expects to do business the same way--its own way--and, conversely, an American government that prodded its fishing industry into possibly unsafe practices in order to compete with foreign fishing powers. Dillon interviews dozens of friends, coworkers, and family members of the lost fishermen, and the scenes that describe the small Washington town of Anacortes, which hosted the lost fleet and is almost completely reliant on fishing for livelihood, are touching. In the end, despite years of hearings and probes into the fishing industry, not much has changed, Dillon reports. Every year a certain number of men go out into rough seas, and every year a smaller number of them return home, as the industry remains largely free of regulation. --Tjames Madison
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