Coast Guard To Investigate Fatal Capsizing Near Newport

Jan 17, 2019

The U.S. Coast Guard is officially investigating the deaths of three crab fishermen near Newport last week . KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Coast Guard Cutter in Newport, Oregon.
Credit Steve Valasek /

On January 9th, Coast Guard crews learned of a vessel having trouble as it crossed the Yaquina Bay bar. Shortly afterwards, the Mary B II had capsized, prompting an air and ground search.  But all three members of the crew died, one after being plucked from the ocean by helicopter.

The Mary B II after washing ashore.
Credit Oregon State Police / OSP

“Certainly a terrible situation," says Coast Guard spokesman Levi Reed. "First and foremost, our thoughts go toward the family and friends who lost people during this terrible incident. The goal is to just find out the cause, and to help it from happening again.”

The deaths of Josh Porter, James Lacey, and Stephen Biernacki have shaken the community. Taunett Dixon is president of the Newport Fisherman’s Wives.

Blessing of the departing Alaskan fleet from Newport.
Credit Newport Fisherman's Wives /

“You know, we are a really close fishing community, we deeply care about each other," Dixon tells KLCC.  "And when this happens, it’s pretty traumatizing for other fishermen and their families.”

Dixon’s group has promoted fundraisers for the victims’ families, as well as for the Coast Guard, whose personnel remain unpaid during the government shutdown.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.