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A crewman was seriously injured Friday while working aboard the Alaska Fishing Vessel ARAHO.  The 51-year-old crewman was reportedly working in the vessel factory stacking pans when a storage crate fell upon him. The detailed circumstances leading up to the injury are currently unknown.

The crew of the ARAHO called the Coast Guard and injured crewman was airlifted by helicopter to St. Paul Island where he was to be evacuated for further medical treatment.

The ARAHO is a 194-foot Bering Sea trawler owned by O’Hara Fisheries.  The vessel was built as a state of the art fishing vessel in 2017.

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The crew of the Fishing Vessel Masonic put on survival suits and abandoned ship into the vessel life raft on Tuesday.  The 62 foot Masonic went aground near Coronation Island south east of Sitka and the crew radioed a May Day to the Coast Guard.  All crewmen have been rescued by a Coast Guard Helicopter.  The cause of the incident is unknown at this time and will be subject to further investigation.  The crew of the Masonic was prepared for an emergency and had reportedly recently undergone Coast Guard dockside examination.

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Three commercial fishermen lost their lives Tuesday when the MARY B II capsized while crossing Oregon’s Yaquina Bay Bar.  In heavy weather the Yaquina Bay bar is one of the most dangerous bars on the west coast. At the time of the incident sea conditions were reported to be 12-14 waves.  News report indicate that the MARY B II had reportedly asked the Coast Guard for an escort across the bay.  The vessel subsequently sank while crossing the bay.  Attempts to rescue the crewman failed.  One crewman was rescued by a good Samaritan vessel; however, he was unable to be revived.  Two crewmen including the vessels captain washed ashore. Lost in the accident are Joshua Porter, James Lacey and Stephen Biernacki. The accident came following more than a month’s delay in the opening of the commercial crab season.  Heavy winds and seas prevented many vessels from retrieving their pots on the first days of the season.

Further details relating to the capsizing are unavailable at this time.  Commercial fishing in Oregon and Washington remains extremely dangerous for crewman battling high winds and large seas.  Smaller vessels are at more risk during heavy weather conditions.

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October 22, 2018

A 64-year-old crewman suffered a head injury after being struck in the face by a crane hook aboard the ARCTIC STORM. Due to possible complications from blunt force trauma to the head the Coast Guard recommended medical evacuation by helicopter.  The incident happened 25 miles off the Oregon coast.  There is no news about the status of the injured fisherman. The ARTIC STORM is a 270-foot factory trawler that fishes in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.

All deckhands working with deck cranes on fishing vessels should be properly trained. All hooks, safety hooks, lines, and controls should be kept in safe operating order.  Early reports in this case indicate the crewman was struck by a “loose crane hook”.  Hooks should be secured at all times.

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An 18 year old Alaska Fisherman suffered a hand injury while working aboard the Pacific Harvester.  The vessel was fishing in Prince William Sound.  The captain of the Pacific Harvester contacted the Coast Guard for emergency medical evacuation of the crewman.  A Coast Guard launch from Valdez with a trauma technician on board transported the injured fisherman to the pier in Valdez.  The fact and circumstances of how the crewman was injured is unknown at this time.

Crewman safety aboard fishing vessel is a priority.  In almost all cases following proper safety procedures and having seaworthy equipment can prevent injury accidents from occurring.  The Jones Act and Federal Maritime Law provide protection and benefits to crewman injured while working aboard commercial fishing vessels in Alaska.

 

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A crewman working aboard the Alaska crab boat Patricia Lee was hit in the head by a crab pot Monday evening.  A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued the man who was suffering from a head injury  symptoms.   The injured crewman was taken to Dutch Harbor for further medical evaluation where he was reported to be in stable condition.

Working on the deck of an Alaska crab boat is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.  The crewmen who sometimes work in heavy weather conditions are at risk of injury from swinging crab pots that sometimes weigh as much as a thousand pounds. It is important that proper safety procedures be utilized to protect the crew from injuries.

In this case, following the crewman’s injury, the Patricia Lee contacted the Coast Guard for medical advice. The Coast Guard Flight Surgeon recommended that the injured crewman be medevaced from the vessel.  In total because of the Patricia Lee’s distance from shore the medical evacuation involved two separate coast guard crews and involved two different helicopters.

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A 51 year old commercial fisherman has been airlifted from the F/V Devotion 34 miles southwest of Cordova. The vessel called for medical assistance after the crewman suffered a head injury and fell.  The on duty Coast Guard flight surgeon recommended  the crewman be medevac.   The injured crewman was transferred to a nearby tug where a Coast Guard helicopter lifted him to safety.  The crewman was taken to Cordova for emergency medical evaluation.

The facts and circumstances of the crewman’s injury area unknown at this time.  Weather conditions at the scene were reported to be 15 MPH winds with two foot seas.

It is important that all crewman who suffer head injuries while working at sea get emergency medical evaluation to determine the severity of their injuries.  Improperly treated head injuries can cause severe injuries and possible death. Every crew should be trained to contact the Coast Guard Flight Surgeon for medical advice for treatment of a severely injured crewman.

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A 25-year-old crewman, Grant Hildreth has been reported missing after falling overboard from the F/V CAPE GRIEG.  The tragic accident happened on Thursday in Ugashik Bay, Alaska.  Reports indicate the crew of the Cape Grieg tried to save Hildreth by throwing him a flotation device but that Hildreth went under the water and could not be found.   The cause of the accident is unknown at this time and is under investigation.  Hildreth was not wearing a personal flotation device.  Weather at the time of incident was reported to be relatively mild with a strong incoming tide.  The Cape Greig is a 175 foot long fish processing vessel owned by F/V BEAGLE LLC and is home ported in Seattle Washington.

Few accidents at sea are not preventable if proper training and safety procedures are followed.  It is common safety practice aboard Alaska fishing vessel for crewmen working on the deck of a vessel to wear personal flotation work vests.  These vests can save lives, and vessel owners must ensure that safety rules requiring wearing safety vests are enforced.  Fishing vessel safety regulations require fishing boat crews to drill and practice in rescue procedures in the event of a man overboard situation. The maritime lawyers at Johnson Beard & Trueb PC represent the families of crewmen who have been injured or killed working at sea; they have offices located in Anchorage and Seattle.

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Reports have now confirmed Kevin Soule has died in a tragic crab fishing accident on Willapa Bay.  Soule was reported missing by his wife, Heather, on May 19thwhen he did not return home from crab fishing as scheduled. Soule was reportedly fishing alone aboard the 40-foot crab boat KELLI J.  An extensive search lead to the discovery of the sunken vessel on Friday.  The sunken boat was discovered by Sherriff’s personnel in approximately 40 feet of water three miles northwest of Oysterville. Soule body was discovered by divers working to salvage the sunken KELLI J.

The circumstances and cause of the sinking of the KELLI J are unknown.  The sunken vessel was located in an area of Soule’s crab pots and buoys.  Some local fishermen have speculated the vessel possibly sank as a result of winching up on a stuck crab pot. The accident occurred as the dungeness fishing season was winding to a close in Willapa Bay.

The Nahcotta based KELLI J was owned by Shoalwater Seafoods LLC.  Reports indicate that the vessel was equipped with an EPIRB, however, the electronic locating device did not activate.  The accident has struck a terrible blow to Soule’s wife and two young daughters.

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Four crewmen were rescued from a life raft Sunday night after the F/V MT Tamgas capsized 12 miles off the Oregon Coast.  The captain of the MT Tamgas radio issued a mayday call reporting his vessel was capsizing and the four crewmen were abandoning ship into the vessel’s life raft. A Coast Guard helicopter rescued the crewmen and transported the crew to Tillamook Bay for emergency medical assessment.  One of the crewmen was reported to be suffering from symptoms of hypothermia. The facts and circumstances of the capsizing are unknown at this time.   Vessel documentation indicates the 54-foot long MT Tamgas is a steel hulled vessel built in 1966 and owned by Travenshek Fisheries.  The vessel is home ported in Warrenton, Oregon.

The commercial fishing fleet in Washington and Oregon has recently experienced an increasing number of fishing vessel sinkings. Fortunately, the Coast Guard has been there to rescue many of the crews of these vessels.  However, vessel safety starts with a properly maintained vessel, and a vessel fully equipped with safety equipment, and a properly trained crew. We are thankful the crew of MT Tamgas was rescued from a very dangerous situation.

Johnson Beard & Trueb PC are maritime lawyers who represent fishermen injured fishing in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska.  Their experience includes handling commercial vessel sinking cases such as the Aleutian Enterprise, Alaska Ranger, Arctic Rose, Lady Cecelia,  Sara Jo, Nesika and many others.