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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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A 45-year-old crewman on the Alaska Ocean has suffered a crushed arm requiring helicopter evacuation.   The serious injury happened 30 miles northeast of Cold Bay.  The ALASKA OCEAN contacted Health Force Partners for advice who recommended evacuation by the Coast Guard.  A helicopter airlifted the injured crewman to Cold Bay, and he was subsequently flown out to Alaska.  The Alaska Ocean is the largest catcher/processor vessel in the US fleet. The Alaska Ocean is operated by Seattle based Glacier Fish Company.  The cause of this most recent accident is unknown at this time.

Federal Maritime Law covers injury accidents involving Alaska commercial fishermen.  Under Federal law the vessel must arrange for medical evacuation of injured fishermen. The vessel owner must pay for all reasonable medical expenses related to a crewman’s injury.  The Jones Act provides compensation to fishermen who are injured by negligence of the employer or fellow crewmen.

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The Warrenton based crab boat Crystal Reign sank while crossing the Tillamook Bar on Saturday, February 20, 2021.  One of four crewmen rescued from the sinking vessel has now died and another crewman remains in critical condition. Due to heavy weather conditions, the USCG was reportedly monitoring the Crystal Reign from a watch tower as the vessel crossed the bar. Coast Guard rescuers saw the 38-foot crab boat overturn in heavy surf.   News accounts report 51-year-old Todd Chase was lost in the accident.   The death of the crewman and loss of the vessel will be investigated.  Fishing on the Washington and Oregon Coast mains one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.  Federal Maritime Law governs safety on crab fishing vessels such as the Crystal Reign.

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A crewman from the F/V McKenzie rose suffered a head injury Saturday.  The incident happened approximately 100 miles west of Coos Bay on the Oregon coast.  The Captain of the vessel radioed the Coast Guard for help around 5:30 A.M.   A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter airlifted the injured crewman to shore for further evaluation and treatment. The current condition of the 26-year-old crewman is unknown.  The facts and circumstances of the incident are unavailable at this time.  Crewman are reminded to wear protective equipment such as hard hats and helmets when there is potential for a head injury.

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Concerns grow as more crewmen have tested positive for Covid 19 aboard American Seafoods Alaska fishing vessels American Triumph and Northern American. Following positive test results for 85 crewmen aboard the American Dynasty last week crewmen aboard the American Triumph and Northern Jaeger were tested this week after arriving in Bellingham, Washington.   Initial reports indicate 21 crewmen aboard the Northern Jaeger tested positive and there were four positive test results aboard the American Triumph.  Both vessels carry 110 crewmen.  The positive testing crewmen have been placed in quarantine.

Under Federal Maritime Law and the Jones Act the employer and vessel owner owes a duty to its crew to provide a safe place to work.  In the situation such as that involving the Covid 19 virus the employer must implement property safety procedures and protocols, testing and modifications to prevent crewmen from being infected with the virus.

Before starting their fishing trips in the middle of June American Seafoods reported they imposed a five-day quarantine on all crewmen and tested all crewmen for Covid 19 and only negative testing crewmen were allowed on the vessels.  Infectious disease medical experts have questioned the effectiveness of the shorter five-day quarantine utilized by American Seafoods, and American Seafoods has now adopted the more widely recommended 14-day quarantine protocol.

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A 31-year-old crewman has been medically evacuated from the commercial fishing vessel Baranoff.  The medivac involved long distance coordination of Coast Guard emergency flight personnel and equipment. At the time of the incident the 196-foot-long Baranoff was located 300 miles northwest of St. Paul Island. The injured crewman was subsequently transferred to Anchorage for medical evaluation and treatment.  The circumstances of the crewman’s injury are currently unavailable.

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85 Crewmen on board an American Seafoods vessel have tested positive for the COVID 19 virus.  The crew are aboard an Alaska fish catcher processor commercial fishing vessel.  The infection has broken out aboard the 272-foot-long American Dynasty.  85 of the 123 crewmen on board have returned positive test results for the COVID 19 virus.  One crewman has been hospitalized while the other crewmen are in quarantine.

The American Dynasty is one of six factory trawlers owned by American Seafoods Company.  The vessels concentrate their commercial fishing operations in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. The vessels also fish for hake off the Oregon and Washington Coast.  

American Seafoods’ press releases indicate the crew of the American Dynasty had all been placed in a five-day quarantine and all been tested for the virus before the vessel left for the fishing grounds around May 16, 2020.  All crewman reportedly tested negative for the virus at that time.  In contrast to American Seafoods preemployment five-day quarantine, other fishing companies have been using a 14-day quarantine procedure.

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 An Alaska fisherman has suffered a serious hand injury working aboard the F/V ALASKA DREAM.  The 49 year old crewman was airlifted by the Coast Guard after suffering a serious finger injury.  The risk of infection required fast medical attention.  The incident happened southwest of Kodiak Alaska.  No further details of the injury are currently available.  Crewmen working aboard Alaska commercial fishing boats frequently suffer serious hand and finger injuries.  Proper safety guards and procedures can prevent many of these type of injuries from happening.

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New information is being reported relating to the sinking of the Scandies Rose on New Years Eve.   Sadly five crewmen are now lost and presumed drown. The Coast Guard has identified the missing crewmen as including the vessel Master, Gary Cobban and his son David Cobban. Also among the missing are crewmen Arthur Ganacias, Brock Rainey and Seth Rousseau. The two surviving crewmen were identified as Dean Gribble and John Lawler.

New reports indicate the vessel was heading into gale force winds and was experiencing icing conditions. Icing on vessel of this type can cause added weight and move the vessel’s center of gravity upwards exposing the vessel to loss of stability. The Captain of the Scandies Rose had called friends via satellite phone in the hours before the sinking indicating the vessel was icing and had taken on a list. According to the news reports the Captain did not seem concerned about the icing conditions and was looking for shelter from the storm conditions. Icing conditions are frequently encountered by crab fishing vessels such as the Scandies Rose.

The Coast Guard has indicated they will be further investigating the incident. The Coast Guard casualty investigation will attempt to determine the cause of the sinking and to provide information about how sinkings of this type may be prevented in the future.

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