Cutting through the angry waves of the Bering Sea, the majestic Northwestern suddenly appears in the night, illuminated only by its spotlights and deck lights. Onboard is a crew of 6 determined men risking their lives while fighting the insane winter elements to catch as many crabs as possible during the short fishing season. But to accomplish their mission, these men put their trust in the sturdy and rugged fishing vessel of nearly 30 years.
The Northwestern was christened in 1977 in Seattle, Washington.
At the time, the boat was 108 feet long. In order to make good use of their new vessel, the owners at that time, Sverre and Snefrid Hansen, worked the boat year round catching different species of crab throughout the year. Sverre’s three sons grew up working on the boat and continued the family tradition of working on the Bering Sea and working the crab pots. The current logo of the Northwestern is a three pointed shield representing the three Hansen brothers, Sig, Edgar, and Norman. Many people belive the initials around the shield, S.H., stand for Sig Hansen but it actually represents the initials of the Hansen Brothers Father, Sverre Hansen.
Crab pots are made out of a steel frame with wire mesh and typically weight between 700-800 pounds. When you watch the next episode of Deadliest Catch, keep that in mind when you see one flying around in the cold wind with the boat deck covered in water or ice. As crab fishing became more lucrative, the Hansen’s didn’t give up the Northwestern, they made her longer.
At first she was extended from her original length of 108 feet to 118 feet to carry more pots. Again in 1991, the fishing industry increased the allowable number of crab pots to 250. So the Northwestern went under the knife again and was extended to her current length of 125 feet. Today, as regulations continue to change, the Northwestern typically carries 195 crab pots. She is capable of carrying 251,000 pounds of crab in her three crab holds and she can hold 60,000 gallons of fuel.
The interior of the boat has a captain’s quarters complete with his own bed, private bath and shower. Although Sig says that taking a shower is bad luck. There is a galley and kitchen with a dry storage area where they stock up with between $10,000-$15,000 worth of food before leaving port. They have a TV area but they get no signal on the ocean so the PlayStation and X-Box is the entertainment of choice. And, of course, upstairs is the wheelhouse complete with state of the art radar and communications.
Sig Hansen is the oldest of the Hansen son’s and took over as Captain in 1990 at the ripe old age of 26, one of the youngest fulltime crab boat Captain’s ever. As he gained more experience, he also has gained a reputation as a tough, no-nonsense Captain. But he boasts that his greatest accomplishment isn’t how much crab he has brought in over the years, but that he has never had a fatal accident on board his vessel. Two of Sig’s brothers are part of the Northwestern’s crew of six. Sigs daughter, Mandy, also just joined the crew for crab fishing. Sig’s net worth is estimated at over $3 million.
The Discovery Channel series Deadliest Catch premiered in 2005 and the Northwestern has been a featured vessel each year.
They have a tremendous fan base. You can now purchase crab gear from their gear store. They have their own brand of coffee “Northwestern Grind,” and you can find elaborate shirts, sweatshirts, and prints of the Northwestern.
Catch the stately Northwestern as she commands the Bering Sea in an upcoming episode of Discover Channel’s Deadliest Catch.
And as you are watching the crew and the cameramen battle the elements, the machinery, and the crabs, keep one eye on the boat. And marvel at what she is capable of doing in her own battle against the elements.
The Northwestern has made a name for herself and it all started with the hard working Sverre Hansen.Oops! No results, try changing your search!