Mercator (crab Processing Vessel)
Probably the most costly accident to befall a vessel of the commercial fisheries fleet was the capsizing of the 214-foot crab processing vessel Mercator, which rolled at a 62-degree angle against the dock at Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle, as the vessel was fully loaded and about to depart for Alaska. Those on board were able to scramble to safety as the Mercator went over. Pumps were used to remove more than 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which was captured inside floating booms, loaded into tank trucks and hauled away. Salvage diver Leiter Hackett and the Foss salvage crew, headed by Capt. Ben Strickland, were called in to pump out the ship, remove the cargo and right her. Deck cargo included logs, drums of oil, pickup trucks, crab pots and other material. Shortly after the Mercator rolled over and began taking on water, two explosions occurred in the bow section, caused by moisture reaching two 100-pound cardboard containers of chlorine crystals and generating hydrogen gas. Capt. Strickland and Coast Guard
Citation: Tacoma Public Library