“Deadliest Catch” is always ripe for an intense episode, since the lives of its Bering Sea crab fishermen are fraught with peril. In Tuesday’s (June 21) episode, titled “Fire at Sea Part 1,” Sig Hansen has a scary situation when there’s a fire on board his boat, the Northwestern.
Speaking with Zap2it by phone, he details the fire and how it could have been so much worse than it was, plus he talks about his 20-year-old daughter Mandy, who is pursuing a degree at the California Maritime Academy and may one day be captaining her own boat.
Zap2it: Can you walk us through what happened? Was it an electrical fire?
Sig Hansen: It was in the electrical panel. The power goes out, it was dark, it was early in the morning and I thought it was water in our fuel system. So when the lights started flickering, we didn’t know that it was a fire. It happened so fast, the next thing you know all the lights are out, next thing you know there’s a fire. We’re very lucky that the guys were so accessible and ready, because had it happened when everybody was sleeping, it would have been a whole different story.
Did you have to head back to shore?
We had to get back to shore, it took us quite a while to get back. We headed to the island, St. Paul, and then Edgar managed to get some of the breakers working on the right side of the panel so that we had power to the steering, power to navigation and to our pumps. Then we went to Dutch Harbor and that took about two days. We’re lucky the weather cooperated, nobody was out there to help us, we were pretty much out there by ourselves.
Was it scarier for you because your daughter Mandy was on board?
No, I didn’t think about that at the time. At the time, I was worried about the boat. Then afterwards you think, ‘Jesus Christ, you got your brothers and your daughter on board.’ Then it hits you. But in the moment, you don’t really think about it.
Do you think Mandy is going to helm her own crab fishing boat some day?
When she graduates from the academy, she can do anything. She’ll be a 3rd Mate Unlimited License, so when she graduates she’ll be able to run a cruise ship or a container ship or anything like that as a 3rd mate and then you build on that license ’til you become captain.
As far as a fishing boat, I think that’s something she would aspire to, but I have bigger visions for her. I don’t want her to do that. I’d love to see her on a large ship. I don’t want her to be fishing, I don’t want her to be on a crab boat. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, let alone my daughter. She’s smart enough to do something else, do something better. That’s what I envision for her.
What about your other daughter, Nina? Is she interested in following in your footsteps too?
No, absolutely not. They’re as opposite as fire and ice. And that’s OK, that’s a good thing.
“Deadliest Catch: The Bait” and the original “Deadliest Catch” air back-to-back Tuesday, June 21 beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery. Look for part 2 of Zap2it’s interview with Sig Hansen when the next new episode airs on Tuesday, July 5.