TYPE: 127-foot Marco house forward vessel
KING CRAB CAPACITY: 251,000 lbs
BUILT: 1977 - Seattle, WA
HOME PORT: Seattle, WA
CATCH SEASONS: 1 to 10
The Northwestern was built in 1977 at Marco Shipyards in Seattle, WA. She was originally 108 feet in length. The vessel was built specifically for the King and Tanner crab fisheries of Alaska's Bering Sea.
In 1981 there was a collapse of the King crab fishery so the boat stayed busy fishing Tanner crab. In the early ‘80s, the Northwestern was one of the first boats to fish Opilio crab. The Opilio crab fishery turned out to be the "bread and butter” fishery for the entire crab fleet. Opilio fishing lead to over-capitalization of the fishery overall with several new boats being built at that time.
Throughout the 1980s, the vessel stayed busy all year long, fishing Opilio crab from January to August, Blue King crab in the Pribilof Islands in August, Red King crab in September, and Brown and Red King crab from November to December out West on the Aleutian Chain. Even though the vessel was very busy year-round, the crew always made it home for Christmas.
In 1987, rather than buying a new boat, the family decided to have the Northwestern lengthened to 118 feet in order to pack more crab and increase the vessel’s stability and ability to carry more crab pots. The vessel went from 156 pots to 200 pots maximum.
In 1991 there was a "pot limit" introduced to the Alaskan crab fishery. This prompted the family to lengthen the boat to 125 feet in order to attain the maximum pot limit of 250 pots per vessel.
The Northwestern's logo is a three-pointed shield, representing Sig, Edgar and Norman Hansen — the three brothers who operate the pristine white, house-forward vessel.
The Norwegian family business has run the same way for years. Sig mans the wheelhouse as captain, Edgar oversees the deck as deck boss, and Norm handles the engine room. The Northwestern is one of the most efficient boats in the fleet. And as they say, "There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Norwegian way."
This Norwegian family business has run the same way for years: Sig in the wheelhouse running the boat, Edgar running the deck, and Norm out of the spotlight with mainly deck and engineering duties. As a result, the Northwestern has remained one of the fleet’s most efficient boats year in, year out. As they say, "There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Norwegian way."