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The 32-foot White Swan III has reportedly sunk 35 miles West of Florence off the Southern Oregon Coast. A master and one crewman were believed to be aboard the vessel. The Coast Guard received a May Day message from the White Swan III master asking for emergency help saying the vessel was sinking near the Hecta Banks fishing grounds.  With aid of an EPIRB single Coast Guard helicopters located a debrief field and recovered the body of the unidentified crewman. Although a life raft was located there was no sign of master of the vessel, 68-year-old Mike Morgan, who remains missing.  Search for the missing master of the White Swan III has been hampered by poor visibility.   Cause of the vessel sinking is unknown at this time and pending further investigation.

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Thursday,  the Coast Guard airlifted an injured crewman from the F/V America’s Finest.  The crewman sustained major injuries to his foot requiring emergency medical attention.  The injured fisherman was transported to Dutch Harbor where a life flight took him onto Anchorage for treatment.  The incident happened 20 miles west of St. George Island, 92 miles northwest of Dutch Harbor.  Weather conditions near the scene were reported to be winds of 30 mph gusting to 40, with 15 foot seas. 

The America’s Finest is a 260-foot long state of the art fish processing vessel.  The vessel finished construction in 2019 and carries 50 crewmen.  The America’s Finest fishes H & G flatfish, cod and pollock.  The vessel is owned and operated by Fisherman’s Finest with an office based in Kirkland, Washington.

 The facts and circumstances relating to the cause of the recent injury are unknown at this time. Injured crewmen working aboard Alaska fishing boats are protected by Federal Maritime Law.  The maritime law offices of Trueb & Beard, LLC represent injured fishermen obtaining compensation for their injuries working at sea.

 

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Monday, two fishermen were rescued from their sinking fishing vessel near Sitka.  The crewmen radio the Coast Guard for help when after the Glory, a forty-foot fishing vessel began taking on water.  A rescue swimmer was lowered to the vessel and advised them to abandon ship.   Weather at the scene was reported to be 55- mph winds with five-foot seas.   The cause of the sinking is unknown and there were no reported injuries at this time.

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An injured crewman from O’Hara fishing vessel Constellation was airlifted from the vessel Monday.  Few details of the accident are currently available; however, early reports indicate the crewman suffered serious injuries to his arm when a hatch was closed upon him.  At the time of the injury the vessel was fishing near St. Paul Island. Winds were measured at 44 mph with 10-foot seas.  After the Coast Guard helicopter brought the injured crewman to St. Paul, a Guardian flight transported the crewman to Anchorage for emergency medical attention.

The 169-foot Constellation is part of a fleet of Alaska ground fishing vessels owned by the Seattle based O’Hara Corporation. O’Hara is one of the oldest fishing companies in the United States. Other vessel owned by O’Hara include the Araho, Enterprise, Defender, and the Alaska Spirit.

Unfortunately, many Alaska fishermen’s fishing careers end with injuries that could have been prevented if proper safety procedures had been followed. Injured Alaska fishermen and fish processors are entitled to maritime benefits under Federal Maritime Law. The vessel owner owes each crewman a safe place to work and a seaworthy vessel. Benefits under the maintenance and cure doctrine include payment of all reasonable and necessary medical care, payment of wages until the end of the crewman’s contract, and payment of a daily living allowance (maintenance) while the crewman is recovering from their injuries.
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The 67-foot fishing vessel Desire has reportedly sunk 20 miles west of the Umpqua River on the Oregon Coast.  The crew issued a May Day call to the Coast Guard Monday at around nine o’clock.  The vessel’s EPIRB also signaled the Coast Guard the vessel’s location. All five crewmen aboard the vessel donned survival suits and were able to get into the vessel’s life raft. The crewmen were hoisted by two helicopters dispatched to the scene

The Desire homeport is listed as Neah Bay, Washington. All five of the crewmembers were taken to North Bend, Oregon. The cause of the sinking is under investigation at this time.  The incident stresses the vital role emergency preparedness plays in saving fishermen’s life.  Commercial fishing off the Coast of Washington remains extremely dangerous with few regulations governing vessel safety.

The maritime lawyers at Johnson Beard & Trueb PC represent injured commercial fishermen and their families to recover compensation for injuries under the Jones Act and Federal Maritime Law.
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The Coast Guard reports after receiving a May Day message, four crewman from the 53-foot fishing vessel Julia Breeze have been rescued.  The crew were forced to done survival suits and abandon ship into the vessel’s life raft after taking on water near Cape Ommaney.  The vessel’s EPIRB helped guide USCG rescue helicopters to the scene.  All four crew members were reported in good condition and flown to Kodiak for further evaluation.  The cause of the vessel sinking is under investigation.  Tragedy was avoid in this matter by having proper safety equipment on board the vessel.

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Four crewmen from the Alaska fishing vessel LAURA were forced to abandon ship Monday.   The vessel ran aground forcing the crewmembers into survival rafts.  A United States Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter located the crewmen and hoisted them to safety.  Winds of 24 mph were reported at the scene.  The vessel is reported to be carrying 4000 gallons of fuel.  Investigation into the accident is to be conducted by the Coast Guard.  It is unknown why the vessel went aground.

The Coast Guard noted that the Laura’s survival suits, flares, radios, and strobes all played a part in a good outcome. No known injuries to the crew are known at this time, and it sounds like the crew is now safe and sound.

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A deckhand on the 117-foot crab fishing vessel Patricia Lee was seriously injured Tuesday while working on deck.  Early reports indicate that the crewman suffered serious injury to his pelvis when he was pinned between the crab pot and the vessels rail.  Alaska crab pots can approach a thousand pounds in weight, and when being landed, moved and set in heavy seas can result in serious injury to vessel crewmen.  It is important to keep the pots under control at all times and to avoid fishing in excessive weather conditions or when a vessel is undermanned. A basic principle of maritime law is that the employer owes every crewman aboard their vessel a safe place to work.

The injury to the Patricia Lee crewman happened 200 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor. Weather on site was reported to be 40-50 knot winds with 14-foot seas.  The injured crewman was medevacked from the fishing vessel by a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and taken to Dutch Harbor.  The crewman was reportedly medevacked from Dutch Harbor to Anchorage for further treatment.

Working on Alaska crab remains one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.  Crewman injured working aboard crab vessels such as the Patricia Lee are covered by complex system of Federal Maritime Laws and statutes commonly referred to as the Jones Act.   The experienced maritime lawyers at Johnson Beard & Trueb know how accidents happen at sea and how crewman injuries could have been prevented.  We understand how your injuries impact you and your family’s future.  The lawyers at Johnson Beard & Trueb have offices in Anchorage and Seattle. They have handle over a thousand Jones Act cases and recovered millions of dollars in compensation for their clients located throughout the country. Johnson Beard & Trueb are the lawyers Alaska fishermen trust to get fair compensation for their injuries. 

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Five passengers from the Holland American Line cruise ship New Amsterdam have lost their lives in a sightseeing excursion plane crash near Ketchikan Alaska.  The accident happened Thursday, when a De Havilland Beaver aircraft crashed near Misty Fjords National Monument approximately eight miles   northeast of Ketchikan Alaska. The pilot of the aircraft was also killed in the accident which had no survivors. Authorities were alerted to the crash by the plane’s emergency alert beacon which was activated around 11:30AM .   United States Coast Guard helicopter rescue crews subsequently located the crash site around 2:30 PM and confirmed the tragic loss.   The Coast Guard indicates the weather conditions around take off for the plane were a 900-foot cloud ceiling with two miles of visibility, with mist and light rain, and 9 mph winds.

The sightseeing plane was reportedly owned and operated by Southeast Aviation LLC.   A statement released by Holland America indicated the excursion ticket was not sold by Holland America. Early reports indicate the lost passengers started their seven day Holland America cruise in Seattle and Ketchikan was the cruise ship’s first stop.

Ketchikan is one of the regular Alaska cruise ship stops and offers wide variety of excursions for cruise ship passengers while the cruise vessels are in port including many float plane sight-seeing trips. Unfortunately, several flights near Misty Fjords have turned deadly.  In 2019 a mid air collision between two sightseeing planes resulted in the death of six passengers.  In 2015 another sightseeing excursion plane crashed into a mountain side killing nine persons.

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A Casualty Investigation into the sinking of the Coastal Reign will be conducted by the United States Coast Guard.  The Coastal Reign capsized on Saturday while crossing the Tillamook Bar.  Two crewmen were lost in the tragedy.  The Investigation will examine the facts and circumstances that may have caused the 38-foot crab vessel to sink, with a view to making recommendations about accident prevention in the future.

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