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Deadliest Catch's Derrick Ray Took Over The Cornelia Marie To Finish Phil Harris' Story

The untimely death of Phil Harris, captain of the F/V Cornelia Marie, shocked the crab fishing community and "Deadliest Catch" viewers alike. In February 2010 — a month after suffering a stroke — he passed away at the age of 53, leaving behind his two sons and deckhands, Josh and Jake Harris. In the midst of mourning, an important decision had to be made: what would happen to the boat?

During his final moments, Harris requested that his story of helming the Cornelia Marie for 20-plus years be finished on the show for the world to see. It was then that Harris' longtime friend Derrick Ray took over as skipper, tasked with running the vessel in Harris' memory. "That's what Phil asked on his deathbed: finish the story... The end of his life, the end of the Cornelia Marie. Just shut it down. Get it off the show," Ray told EW. "I'm just the guy here to help, end the story, and try to teach the boys [Josh and Jake] a little bit along the way if they will listen to me."

While Ray joined the crew to finish Harris' story, his own experiences on the Cornelia Marie did not make for the smoothest ride for the new captain.

Captaining the Cornelia Marie wasn't easy for Derrick Ray

Though Derrick Ray went into his F/V Cornelia Marie captaining duties with the intention of mentoring Josh and Jake Harris, that's not exactly what happened. According to Ray, the brothers — and partial owners of the vessel — didn't take much initiative in learning the craft. He told EW, "I've got to push them every day, tell them, 'Step up, step up, make lists, look around. See what needs to be done on your boat.'"

Additionally, in a May 2011 episode of "Deadliest Catch," Ray accused Jake of using drugs on board and called the police as a scare tactic. Ray told Oregon Live, "The Coast Guard has a zero-tolerance policy. Having drugs on board is against the law... There's footage of it and I knew he was smoking dope, and I was trying to get him to stop."

While Ray went on to say that Phil Harris' boys are only concerned with making reality TV, not continuing their father's legacy, their side of the story is different. On the show, Josh claimed that Ray's remarks toward them were simply out of bitterness for having a failed crabbing season. "He's a legend in his own mind, in my opinion," Josh Harris said.