Everyone knows crab fishing is a dangerous profession - but that change things when the inevitable occurs. 

Dean Gribble/Scandies Rose survivor says, "On the 31st we just started listing really hard to the starboard side.  From sleeping to swimming was about ten minutes. It happened really fast."

In the dark of night this New Year's Eve, amid heavy freezing spray, the 130-foot crab-boat Scandies Rose rolled on her side then went down stern-first into the water with five crew members trapped inside.  An emergency-position-indicating-radio-beacon failed to go off. The mayday only offered the coast guard a partial position of the ship.

Dean Gribble/Scandies Rose survivor says, "We were in the raft for five hours or so.  Our EPIRB didn't go off so that sucked. Ahm, yeah. A lot of the safety equipment was shit too. I have a lot of issues with that."

Two survivors were in a swamped lifeboat, believing that without a working signal light or locator beacon there was no way rescuers could track their exact position in the raging pitch-black waters of the Gulf of Alaska.

All was not lost, however. The Marine Exchange of Alaska was able to assist the US Coast Guard by offering the last coordinates of the ship, the direction she was heading, her speed since she left Kodiak, and the visual track of her death spiral.Dean Gribble/Scandies Rose survivor says, "We are in twenty-foot seas, it's blowing 40, icy conditions. Worst possible conditions. I've been fishing 20-years, you know you do not make it. Everybody dies in those situations.  I knew that was what we were going into.

Matt York/Marine Exchange of Alaska says, "We were also asked to identify other vessels in the area that might be able to assist and then reach out to those vessels. We have a radio that the coast guard doesn't have, so we were able to contact two vessels in the area. Unfortunately, because of the weather, they were not able to assist."

Understanding the position of the vessel was key to the successful rescue of the two survivors.  It allowed the Coast Guard to pinpoint their search in difficult weather conditions that were life-threatening to those in the raft as well as the first responders.  

The non-profit Marine Exchange of Alaska employs automatic identification vessel tracking which is overseen by a 24-7 operations center.

The Marine Exchange is our state's safety net aiding in emergency response and saving the lives of mariners. 

©Copyright 2020 Coastal Television. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.