Seattle fishing boat lost since February found on ocean floor

3D images from the Fairweather's multibeam sonar system. From above, the profile of the vessel is clearly visible, including the bulbous bow to the right, the forward house and mast, equipment (likely crab pots) stacked amidships, the deck crane aft, and the skeg and rudder. (NOAA)

SEATTLE (KOMO) - A vessel on a scientific mission has made an important deep sea discovery, officials announced Thursday.

The fishing boat Destination, a Seattle-based vessel that sank in February with six crew members aboard, was found on the ocean floor in Alaska.

The ship that found the 98-foot fishing boat was a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) vessel.

People at Seattle's Fisherman's Terminal say the lives there were lost will be forever remembered.

"We want to know what happened," Judy Hamick, mother of Destination crewman Kai Hamick, said. "This is a good boat. Why did this have to happen? Knowing that they found the boat is relief, but we know we still don't have any bodies to recover."

The Coast Guard hopes to provide those answers to the Hamicks and other families since NOAA has helped located the vessel off St. George, Ala. The boat was found not far from where it went missing on February 11 while fishing for snow crab.

Earlier this month, the survey ship Fairweather found the Destination using a multibeam sonar system, which creates 3D images of the ocean floor.

NOAA says the Fairweather, using a multibeam sonar, which is designed for seafloor mapping and object detection, found the Destination in 250 feet of water.

A Coast Guard dive team on the Coast Guard cutter Healy is expected to use a remotely operated vehicle to explore the wreckage and debris field later this month.

The Coast Guard's Marine Board of Investigation will hold public hearings on the Destination in Seattle from Aug. 7 to 18. Images from the remotely operated vehicle may be available at that hearing.

The attorney for the owner of the Destination released a statement, indicating he hopes the Coast Guard and the fishing industry will be able to learn from what happened to the boat.

"David Wilson is very thankful the Destination has been located and appreciates the ongoing efforts of the Coast Guard to try to determine why the vessel sank," the statement reads. "He truly hopes that something can be learned that may help prevent a similar tragedy in the future."

Tom Hamick, Kai Hamick's father, agrees.

"If there's an outcome to him giving his life, it's to make the industry a little better, a little bit safer," Tom Hamick said.

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