Glacier Fish Co.’s new groundfishing trawler righted after capsizing in storm

Published on
December 10, 2018

A salvage crew dispatched by Panama City, Florida, U.S.A.-based company Eastern Shipbuilding has righted Glacier Fish Co.’s new factory trawler, the North Star, after it capsized in the extreme weather of Hurricane Michael roughly two month ago. 

On Wednesday, 5 December, the North Star was lifted upright from its starboard side in the waters off of Mexico City Beach, Florida, an area of the panhandle hit hardest by Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm at its peak.  

A 261-foot factory groundfishing trawler bound for Alaska’s Bering Sea, the North Star was launched in April 2018 and was expected to make its way out of Florida in November before Hurricane Michael hit. Now that the vessel has been righted, the potentially lengthy process of overhauling its interior and systems can begin, according to a recent report from National Fisherman.

Positive news of the North Star’s progress comes during a time of mourning for Seattle’s Glacier Fish Co. – Erik Breivik, a founder of the company and a leading figure in the Alaska groundfishing industry, passed away on the same day that the vessel was righted.  

Breivik, whose son Mike currently serves as the CEO of Glacier Fish Co., was renowned for his work in expanding the company, according to National Fisheries Institute President John Connelly. In 2008, Breivik oversaw the merger of Glacier Fish with Alaska Ocean Seafood of Anacortes, a deal that further cemented the company as a leader in the Bering Sea pollock and Pacific West Coast whiting fisheries.

Merle Knapp, vice president of sales and marketing for Glacier Fish Co., remembered Breivik as a titan of the industry. 

“Erik was quite a man,” Knapp, who was a close colleague of Breivik’s for 22 years, told National Fisherman. “He was a pioneer. He was the guy who had the vision to put factory trawlers to work on the cod and pollock in Alaska. He had a fundamental understanding of the fishing industry from having started as a young man."

Glacier Fish currently operates three vessels, aside from the North Star: the Alaska Ocean, the Pacific Glacier, and the Northern Glacier. The company is owned by Norton Sound Economic Development Corp. (NSEDC), with a 50 percent stake, as well as Nippon Suisan Kaisha, the Breivik family, and other investors.

Photo courtesy of Corky Decker/National Fisherman

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