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Monday, November 19, 1990 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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2 Seattle Seamen Held In Trawler Brawl

Two Seattle men are in federal custody in Alaska for their part in a melee aboard a Seattle-based fishing vessel, the Arctic Hero, that left two crew members injured and did about $25,000 damage to the vessel.

The two, ages 26 and 28, were to be transferred today from Unalaska, near Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, to jail in Anchorage to face court arraignment. They were to be charged with two counts of assault, said FBI spokesman Ken Marischen in Anchorage.

Marischen said the FBI had investigated the melee that occurred aboard the 206-foot factory trawler Friday afternoon. It was on a fishing expedition outside Dutch Harbor.

Early reports told of a riotous uprising that authorities said could have amounted to mutiny.

However, the FBI said yesterday that its investigation had concluded that the captain did not lose control of the vessel at any time during the incident, nor was there ever any threat to take over the ship.

Skipper Keith Dillon said the men rioted because the ship's owner, Palmco Pacific Corp. of Hawaii, failed to pay them on time, though he told them their paychecks were waiting on shore, according to The Associated Press.

Most of the crew stayed in their cabins during the disturbance.

The men were part of a crew of about 45 aboard the Arctic Hero, managed by a Seattle firm, AKC Corp. About half of the crew is from the Seattle area, said a spokesman for AKC in Seattle, who declined to identify himself.

Marischen said the U.S. Coast Guard was alerted to trouble aboard the Arctic Hero on Friday when the ship's captain radioed for help. The FBI said the captain advised that his crew had become violent and that seamen were missing.

FBI and Coast Guard investigators, who boarded the vessel Saturday after it was escorted to Dutch Harbor, interviewed about 20 crewmen.

All the crew was accounted for, but Marischen said damage to the ship was estimated initially at $25,000.

Two seamen - Robert Bubenik, the chief engineer, and David Colberg, the lead foreman of the processing operation - were injured during the melee but were reported yesterday in satisfactory condition.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ed Moreth said the Coast Guard ``restored order'' to the Arctic Hero after boarding the vessel in Dutch Harbor. ``We mustered the crew on deck and made a security sweep throughout the vessel,'' he said.

Marischen said the FBI investigation would continue.

Copyright (c) 1990 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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