Monday, March 31, 2008

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The reclusive owner behind the doomed ship

Seattle Times staff reporters

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JIM PAULIN / AP

The Alaska Ranger at a port in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Five died when The Fishing Company of Alaska ship sank in the Bering Sea last Sunday

Sixteen years ago in Anchorage, an auction for three factory fishing boats drew a gaggle of lawyers to the courthouse steps.Auctioneers had hoped to get at least $5 million per boat, but the attorneys balked at the financial risk. As they hesitated, a striking, dark-haired woman in snakeskin boots and a fur coat swept in, made her bids and walked away with two of the ships, at the fire-sale price of $4.5 million for both.
It was an uncommon public appearance for Karena Adler, but an important one. The two boats bought that day in 1991 became workhorses for her Seattle company, The Fishing Company of Alaska, known as FCA. And they helped Adler become one of the most powerful women in Alaska's male-dominated fishing world, with a fleet of seven boats and precious Alaskan fishing rights valued at many millions of dollars. full story

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