– The ferry shows no sign of stopping. (speaking in foreign language) – Everybody back, everybody back. (objects crackling) – Nearly 400 miles off the coast of Alaska a 93 foot fishing trawler, the Arctic Rose is working in the stormy waters of the Bering sea. Their second day here they've already struck Bering sea gold. A 10 ton catch of valuable flatfish. Captain Rundall's plan is to hold their position overnight. So they can drop their nets in the same place tomorrow morning. On the bridge they're changing shifts. First mate Kerry Egan will
stand watch overnight. And captain Rundall heads to his bunk behind the bridge. After 16 years at sea, Davies decided to call it quits and make this his final season. Then, around 3:30 in the morning, something isn't right. (screaming) – Davie. – We need to get her off right.
– I'm trying. Dammit come on. Come on, come on. – Get her back, get her back. – Come on. Guys get your suits on. All right come on, come on, no God. – Only one thing might
save them. Survival suits. (water gushing) For the crew of the Arctic Rose that time has run out. (boat metals clanking) A distress signal is sent out from the Arctic Rose. The Arctic Rose's coordinates are transmitted to an overhead satellite. Then relayed to the Coast Guard station in Kodiak, Alaska. More than 800 miles away. It'll take at least
four hours to get there. (airplane engine roaring) Despite two days of intensive searching no survivors are found. The floating immersion suits suggest someone took them out during the emergency, but there was no time to put them on.
The crew of the Arctic Rose is declared lost at sea. It's the deadliest
commercial fishing accident in US waters, in 50 years. The US Coast Guard launches their highest level of investigation. Coast Guard Captain Ron Morris is assigned as the lead investigator. – What could possibly create such an issue for this vessel that
would go down so quickly and nobody have a chance
to even say mayday. – Because the accident was so deadly. The National Transportation Safety Board sends their own investigator,
Bob Ford to assist. (upbeat music) – Having no survivors, also no voyage data recorder. My first reaction was this is almost gonna be
impossible to find out. – What could sink the Arctic Rose so fast, the crew had no time to escape. The search for answers takes investigators to
Dutch Harbor, Alaska. The main port of call for fishing vessels, working the Bering sea. (gentle music) Several former crew members paint a picture of an inexperienced crew, working in uncomfortably
cramped conditions. – One person, there was a former fishermen from the Arctic Rose, that was a little reluctant to talk.
He said, what a hunk of junk it was, bottom line, it was almost
a form of punishment to go on the Arctic Rose. – Then he mentioned something that catches the investigator's attention. – Any defects at all anything you noticed, about the boat. – She'd get rolling
pretty good on heavy seas. – Right. – If the rolling was as bad as former crew members
say, it could be assigned the boat was dangerously unstable. Investigators drill down to learn as much as they can about the boats design. – The Arctic Rose was a trawler. But it didn't start out as a trawler. It started out as a shrimper and it was modified more than once. – But a few modifications. – The fact that the ship was altered from its original design,
is an important lead. Did converting the Arctic
Rose into a processor make it so top heavy, it capsized in the rough seas? To find out, investigators meet the naval architect responsible for most of the changes.
Changes to Arctic Rose include adding the entire
processing factory, a concrete floor to level the deck and a massive steel
gantry to haul the net. Investigators learned that although the modifications did make the boat heavier, as long as the watertight
hatches were closed the Arctic Rose was considered sea worthy and safe. Investigators are stumped. If the modifications were safe and the boat was stable, then to find out why it sank, they'll need to see the
vessel for themselves. The passenger ferry, Queen Of The North is weaving its way
through the rocky islands. That line the west coast of Canada. Captain Colin Henthorne is in command. (wind whooshing) – Oh no. (screaming) – Somehow, the Queen Of
The North has hit rock. (indistinct) Ferry queen
of the North is a drift and rapidly taking on water. The bridge crew is
struggling to get a handle on the emergency, and Captain Henthorne realizes he needs to prepare for the worst.
– I could see my chest moving in and out with every beat of the heart. I literally thought that I would not be able to speak. But I picked up the microphone and announced all passengers and crew to come up to deck seven. – Muster stations, muster stations. Receive the lifeboat
station on deck seven. This is no drill. (ferry siren wails) – Time is running out. The Queen Of The North is
steadily sinking lower. The water level is now high enough to start flooding in,
over the vehicle deck. – Copy that, it's above
the rubbing strake.
– The rubbing strake is a abandoned steel that runs all the way around the ship. It's like a big bumper. – Okay. Time to go. – Once that's below the water line, that ship is doomed to sink. – Commence evacuation. (water splashes) (chattering) – All right, take your
life jackets, keep moving. – As the situation deteriorates, efforts shift from
preparing to abandon ship to actually getting 101 passengers and crew into lifeboats as quickly as possible.
– Go, keep moving. – Here you go, keep moving, keep moving. – One raft after another was launched, lifeboat was launched. – Less than an hour after
striking a rocky island the Queen Of The North is going down. She's drifted into a
deeper part of the channel and there's nothing the passengers and crew can do, but watch and wait. (objects cracking) – To me, it seemed like more of a salute as she left. – In the near freezing waters of the North Atlantic, the fishing boat Lady
Mary, and a crew of seven are near the end of their fifth day hauling scallops.
The captain is Royal Smith Jr. But everyone calls him Bobo. – Hey dad. – Bobo. How are y'all doing out there? – Yeah, it's pretty good dad. – Ah, good, good, good. Your mama been asking for you. – Tell mama we are okay and we love her. – The 41 year old captain is a third generation fishermen. His father Royal Senior, taught him to fish when he was a boy. – My boys went out during the summer. They went on the boat
with their granddaddy. So, I'll let them know what to do. – Alright dad, I'll
check in with you later. – That sound good son,
sound good, all right. – Then, around five in the morning, something goes wrong. – Dammit. (metals clanking) – The boat is listing dangerously to it's port side. (metals clanking) – Come on girl, steady up, steady up. Stay with me girl, stay with me. Dammit. Come on girl. – Captain Bobo struggles to right the ship but it's not working. About an hour before sunrise, seven crew members of the lady Mary are in a fight for their lives.
The boat is sinking in the cold Atlantic. – Bro.
– Go grab your suits. Put on your suits now. (indistinct) – The boat is now listing
heavily to one side. A third of the half deck
is already under water. The lady Mary is sinking. For those in the water, their last hope is lady Mary's EPIRB or emergency position
indicating radio beacon. It activates automatically to tell the Coast Guard where they are. More than 65 miles away. The Coast Guard Air
Station in Atlantic City launches a search. 37 hours after the sinking, six out of seven of the crew are dead including four members of Fuzzy's family. Even in an industry so used to tragedy, it's a shocking loss. – The vessel was built in 1969. – Looks like the lady Mary had some work done on her. – Lady Mary was originally built in Pascagoula, Mississippi as a shrimper, and it was converted to harvest scallops.
For investigators, it's a red flag. Changes to a boat's original design sometimes create problems with stability. A boat's ability to stay upright in the face of large waves and high winds. Investigators need to
know if the conversion was done properly. They book a series of meetings with Fuzzy to find out more. – Captain Smith, I'm gonna need to see the modifications
made to the lady Mary. – Fuzzy Smith and his lawyer are expecting the Coast Guard scrutiny and Fuzzy doesn't hesitate to cooperate. Fuzzy's changes included a processing area where the scallops could be cut and put on ice each day. An extension to the stern and a new wheelhouse
up on the second level. To confirm the modifications were safe investigators want to
know who designed them. – Who was your naval architect. – I didn't hire one. – May ask why not? – I didn't need to. – Fuzzy's response is troubling. Instead of hiring a naval architect, he designed almost everything himself. – Despite what you think? – I know what I'm doing.
– With all due respect sir, that's what we're here to find out. What is this modification here. – Man, I was (indistinct) what I'd done to that boat. – I extended the stern. – Everybody quieten up, cause I knew what I was talking about. – I add some concrete to balance. – The more Captain Fuzzy
explains what he did. The more investigators can see his changes didn't cause the accident. – We can tell that Fuzzy was working hard to improve the vessel and to make it a better ship to work on. – You see it's all normal. – Fuzzy added some ballast to the bottom of the vessel at the same time that he added the superstructure. And so we don't have any
reason to believe that the stability of the
vessel played a factor. – Investigators are going
to need another lead. (wind whooshing) December 28th, 2014, the passenger ferry Norman Atlantic is fighting its way through a brutal winter storm.
It's the holidays. And the ship is crammed to near capacity with 417 passengers. Leonidas Konstantinidis has parked his truck below. Now he needs a seat. (speaks in foreign language) – I didn't have a cabinet and there was no seating
available in the lounge. The ship was suffocatingly full. – It's against the rules, but in the end Konstantinidis goes down to deck four. (fire alarm wails) – Captain we've got the
fire alarm on deck four. (fire crackling) – Still in his truck, Leonidas discovers he's surrounded by flames. (fire crackling) (speaks in foreign language) – I couldn't remember where the exit was. I had to decide, go forward or back.
– The blaze has driven
Leonidas Konstantinidis all the way to the back of the ship. It's the end of the road. Then he has a stroke of luck. There's a cable dangling from the ship down into the sea. A possible escape route
from the raging fire. (speaks in foreign language) – It was a choice between getting burnt or drowning. I grabbed the cable and
went down into the sea. I chose the water instead of the fire. (speaks in foreign language) (eerie music) (airplane engine roaring) – By 11:30 in the morning, the Norman Atlantic has been burning for six hours. Coast Guard vessels have arrived to start rescuing passengers and crew. One of them is Leonidas Konstantinidis.
Who'd been driven by fire into the sea, seven hours earlier. – I wasn't wearing a
life jacket or anything. I only stayed above the surface because I was hugging the cable. (water gushing) Miraculously, the wind from the storm blew a stray life raft right to him. – The life raft, the way
the wind was pushing it it had to pass between
the cable I was holding and the ship. – Somehow, he made it on board. Five days after the fire, the Norman Atlantic ferry
is finally cool enough for investigators to go on board. It's their first glimpse of where the tragedy began.
(speaks in foreign language) – Some walls on the
ship, were still gluing. With lots of smoke coming out. (speaking in foreign language) – All the shell from the inside was completely deformed. – From what they're seeing, investigators estimate temperatures reached more than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Their best chance of finding out what happened on the
ship, lies with the crew. – The fire spread at the lightning speeds. – The crew is at a loss,
to explain the blaze.
– It came out of nowhere. – I noticed some smoke
on the starboard side near a truck on deck four. – Okay.
– Electrical systems? – That's electric. – Investigators are surprised any refrigerator truck was running its diesel generator during the voyage. There's a good reason
why diesel generators shouldn't be used aboard ship. Poorly running diesels
can emit dangerous sparks from their exhaust ports. Not so bad on the open road, but in a densely packed hold, it's a hazard. A review of the ship's plans adds more to the theory. There were 40 power outlets available on deck four, but on the night of the fire there were 47 refrigerator trucks squeezed onto that deck. Investigators now have a working theory about how the fire began. But how did it get so
large and out of control so fast. – Look, look at the bar. – Chiaia and his team scrutinize the blacked trucks and notice something unusual. – Have you ever seen
heat pattern like this? – Never.
– Significant heat damage at the bottom of the vehicles. – How it'd make like this. – It was very very surprising. Normally, as you know, heat goes up but what we found it was strong damage even in the lower part of the trucks. We had some tires, the wheel, the metal part of the
wheel completely melted. – Somehow this fire filled the hold with super hot flames from the top, all the way to the bottom. – This was unbelievable. (wind whooshing) – Hurricane Alley in the North Atlantic is famous for its storms.
And right now the crew of the 790 foot
container ship El Faro has already changed
course to avoid a big one. Tropical Storm Joaquin. El Faro is about halfway into a two and a half day weekly run from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico. But by one in the morning they're hitting the edges of the storm. (lightning flashing) Then it gets worse. – Please be advised, Hurricane Joaquin has been upgraded to a
category three storm. – In less than 24 hours, Joaquin has grown from a category one to a powerful category three hurricane. Near its center it's producing sustained winds of 115 miles an hour. – Oh my God. – At 4:00 AM, Chief Mates, Steve
Schultz is standing watch on the bridge and Able Seaman Frank Hamm is at the helm. Down in the engine room,
alarms are going off. (eerie music) – Dammit. – I think we just lost the plan. – At the worst possible time, the ship's main engine
sputters and shuts down. The engineers need to
restore the oil pressure if they to have any hope of restarting the engine.
Without power, El Faro is at the mercy of the hurricanes enormous waves. The situation is critical. With a dead ship in a violent storm, starting the engine is their only hope to survive. No matter what they do the engineers can't get
the engine back online. El Faro could capsize any moment. The captain has no choice but to activate the
automated mayday signal. – All right, let's push the button. – The stress button's been activated. – It's the last signal ever received from El Faro. – Ring the abandoned ship. (bell ringing) (eerie music) – Good? – Yeah, you good? There you go, focus. – Let's go, let's go, let's go.
(eerie music) – Seven hours after it capsized, the Marine Electric finally disappears into the Atlantic. 31 members of the Marine
Electrics crew of 34 are dead, including captain Phillip Corl. (waves whooshing) Why did the Marine Electric a ship that had sailed through rough seas for nearly 40 years, capsize and sink to the
bottom of the Atlantic. – Look here. Let's see where we are on this. – In Portsmouth, Virginia,
the US Coast Guard immediately convenes a Marine Board to investigate the disaster. Captain Peter Lauridsen is in charge.
– The Coast Guard has the authority to investigate marine casualties. The Coast Guard office sent investigators out immediately. And so they were, gathering information and they were feeding it to us. – The inquiry will consider everything from the ship structural integrity to human error. Divers survey the wreck and discover the hold
in several large pieces on the sea floor, presenting loads in his
first possible cause. Its cargo of nearly 25,000 tons of coal. The heavy cargoes that
bulk carriers contain have to be loaded in just the right way or it can put a huge strain
on the ship structure and even break it in half. Lauridsen checks the
cruise loading records but there's no sign
they made any mistakes.
– Number two. – The cargo wasn't too heavy and the holds were loaded
in the correct order to avoid straining the ship. – One. That's the sequence of the loading. – Meanwhile, the ship's owner, Marine Transport Lines goes public with its theory about what went wrong. – They're all accidents. You're gonna get all sorts of theories. You're gonna have all sorts of interest protecting their own interest. – Fishing vessel Theodore is in distress. We gotta, go lend a hand. – Where were they when you saw them. – Around here. – The theory that, the
company came up with is that when we went to the Theodore, we got ourselves into too shallow water and we pounded the bottom.
(metals clanking) – Okay, let's hear what we got. – The Coast Guard listens to recordings of the captain's radio calls. Relaying the Marine Electrics position during the Theodore rescue to verify if the theory is true. (radio calls indistinct chatter) They listen carefully as the captain reports, his position. – Coast Guard, this is Marine Electric. We are at position three seven degrees, 50.1 minutes north. 74 degrees, 53.6 minutes west. – And then check that position on the navigation chart. – 53.6 minutes west.
– West. – There's no sign the captain steered the ship into trouble. – They were in good water. – The survivors tell the same story. They didn't hear or feel anything indicating they had run a ground.
Lauridsen and his team will have to find another theory to explain why the Marine
Electric went down. Taking 31 men along with it. (metal clanking)
(water gushing) 17 years after the tragic
loss of the Derbyshire and her 44 passengers and crew. The answers may finally be within reach. (eerie music) Investigators guide a
remote camera vehicle two and a half miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. They need to know why the largest British ship ever lost at sea went down. – Barely torn apart. Look at that. – The giant ship has been shattered into over 2000 pieces of twisted metal and debris.
Andy Bowen has examined many shipwrecks, but he's never seen
anything like this before. – I think everyone was
staggered by the fact that it covered such a large area. The bow and the stern of the ship were in two separate places. Separated by a significant distance. And everything else in between, all of the ship structure
was for the most part turn into what pike I
would almost call confetti. – The twisted metal
fragments are a telltale sign of a violent phenomenon that can tear a ship apart – When the Derbyshire sank because of its unique construction of a double hull, it actually did something
which is to implode and then explode. – As the Derbyshire sank below the waves, increased water pressure drove her watertight double hulls inward. At that point, the trapped air became so highly compressed, it exploded. (exploding) – It explodes back out in a shockwave and that energy release
was probably equivalent to many tons of TNT. And so the records on the sea floor was, just huge pieces of ship twisted by energy that just is almost
impossible to imagine.
– In other words, the
explosions were the result of the catastrophe. Not the cause. Investigators still have no idea what set off the disaster. (birds chirping)
(wind whooshing) October 15th, 2003, the Andrew J. Barberi,
one of the biggest ships in the Staten Island Fleet, is getting ready to leave Manhattan's Whitehall Terminal for its three o'clock sailing. Once the passenger decks have been secured a deck hand comes up
to serve as a lookout.
An extra pair of eyes to scan the Harbor. 15 minutes in. – Approaching the KV buoy, Jersey side. – Yeah, I've got it. – The KV buoy, marks the entry into the Kill Van Kull
Channel, and the approach to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. A few minutes from now, when they approach the terminal the ferry will have to pull into one of the narrow slips. On a windy day like today that will take some
especially depth maneuvering. The gap is barely wider than the ship. – And we started to walk
to the front of the boat but the odd thing was
this guy is running by toward the back of the boat, passing us.
And I thought that was odd. – When it shifts and slows up you know, you're coming in and it never slowed up. – I couldn't figure out why he wasn't slowing down. And then, as we were getting closer it seemed like it was
picking up more speed. – The ferry shows no sign of stopping. (speaking in foreign language) – Everybody back, everybody back. (metals clanking) – The vessel has ground to a stop alongside a concrete maintenance pier with its side torn wide open.
The injured passengers need help for many, time is running out. – I need your help with the ferry's wrecked side against the maintenance pier. No one can get on or off the ship. Somehow Captain Gansas
has to get the ferry over to the slips. So first responders can board. – We need to switch over the controls. You stay here. I'm heading over to the Manhattan side. – The captain's plan is
to get his ship clear of the maintenance pier, turn it and then dock it by its undamaged end. Captain Gansas is back in the Manhattan pilot house. But he can't start piloting yet. – Yes. – Okay, I'm in position.
Transfer command now. – First, he and the engineer have to switch control over to that end of the ship. – You have the command.
– Captain Gansas has got his ferry away from the pier and
out into the harbor. – Come on. – Now he can attempt to turn it around. – Stand by the doc. (eerie music) – With the ferry safely in the slip, first responders can finally board. They race onto the ship
to search for survivors. Investigators need to board too. More than 80 people are injured. 11 of them fatally. (recorder clicks) – All right, walk us through. Where were you and what did you see? – The senior mate of the Andrew J Barberi was right there when the ferry ram the maintenance pier killing 11 people and injuring dozens more. Captain Michael Gansas wasn't in the Staten Island Pilothouse. He should have been with
Assistant Captain Smith during the docking, but he wasn't. Investigators learn, some captains would stay at the other end of the ferry and wait there to take the helm for the return trip.
The assistant captain was
left alone at the helm piloting a ship with
1500 passengers on board. And from where the senior mate was sitting he couldn't see well enough to help. – I don't really know what happened. It just, nothing out of the ordinary. And then bang. – Well, I appreciate your time. – Investigators have gotten a glimpse into the flawed day-to-day operations on the Staten Island Ferries. (upbeat music).