‘Deadliest Catch’: Here’s What Happened to the F/V Destination

by Courtney Blackann

A fisherman’s worst nightmare is a mid-sea emergency. “Deadliest Catch” chronicles all that goes down on Alaska’s rugged Bering Sea. An emergency is a situation no captain ever hopes for.

However, when an emergency does occur, seasoned fisherman are generally prepared to make an SOS call. But for the “Deadliest Catch” crew aboard the F/V Destination, that call was never made.

In 2017, the Destination left its port headed to fill its crab pots and return home victorious with a full load. While the crew was expected to bring in 200 pots of crab, the vessel instead never returned home.

Alaskan fishermen are known for facing extreme temperatures, intense weather and other conditions out on the open ocean. The Destination left with six crew members. It was thought to have tried to return amid a severe ice storm. Instead of trying to anchor down and hold off while the storm passed, the crew is believed to have tried to face the storm head-on. Rushing home, the ship capsized, killing all six members aboard.

Destination Disappears

Furthermore, to make matters worse, a mayday call was never made. The ship is thought to have capsized in freeze spray that weighed the ship down with over 340,000 pounds of ice. In such a bleak position, the crew probably never had a chance.

“Whatever happened, happened very, very quickly, and there’s no one left to tell their story,” Chris O’Neil, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board said.”The captain’s decision to proceed into heavy freezing spray conditions — without ensuring the Destination had a margin of stability to withstand that accumulation of ice — led to the loss of the vessel.”

Crushingly, crew member Dylan Hatfield lost his brother aboard the vessel. He shared his heartbreak saying there aren’t days that go by without him remembering.

“There’s not enough alcohol in the world to drown those memories or suppress those images,” Dylan said. “I should have been there. It should never have been my brother. You wake up and you’re alive and part of you wished you weren’t.”

“Deadliest Catch” Crew Face Other Dangers At Sea

Not only do the “Deadliest Catch” crew face dangers because of weather conditions, sometimes the wildlife itself can be life-threatening.

During an episode where crew members Jeff and Josh are fishing for tuna, Jeff is seen in the water suddenly surrounded by white tip sharks.

As the sharks continue to get dangerously close, Jeff has to push them off in order to deter their interest.

“This is scary stuff,” said Josh. “Well, if I wanted to have a mental breakdown, then I’d go diving for sharks. But I think I’m just going to stick with the sea monsters we’re already catching.”