February 21, 2018
A Coast Guard helicopter stationed at Cold Bay has airlifted a crewman from the Alaska fishing vessel Golden Alaska. The incident happened Tuesday about 60 miles northeast of Cold Bay.
The crewman was reported to have stroke symptoms. The Golden Alaska is a 307-foot Alaska fishing processing vessel owned by Golden Alaska Seafoods. The vessel works together with six catcher boats under the mother ship concept. The catcher boats catch the fish and deliver the fish to the Golden Alaska where the fish are processed at sea by crewmen aboard the vessel.
The Coast Guard’s plan of prepositioning rescue helicopters at Cold Bay has effectively cut down on rescue response recovery time. This allows the helicopter medical rescue crews to get injured and ill crewman off vessels more rapidly and returning them to shore where they can be appropriately evaluated by emergency personnel and medical specialist. Cutting hours off the response time can mean the difference between medical outcomes for a commercial fisherman working in Alaska.
“The ability to have a helicopter and crew awaiting situations like this in Cold Bay during the frigid winter months is crucial,” said Bud Holden, a command center watch stander. “The safety of mariners at sea is a top priority, and the hours saved in flight time could make all the difference in lives being saved in the harsh winter weather conditions of Alaska.”
All vessels should know how to contact the Coast Guard for medical advice. Flight surgeons are available around the clock to give medical advice to vessels working at sea. Many vessels have now also retained ship to shore medical services such as Health Force Partners to give their vessel’s advice about medical treatment for seaman. When in doubt contact medical experts to get qualified advice about how to get medical treatment for your crew.
Under Federal Maritime Law each vessel owner owes an injured or ill crewman aboard their vessel a duty to provide them emergency medical care. This duty under the Jones Act and General Maritime Law requires the vessel to seek appropriate medical advice and to medevac crewmen when the circumstances warrant it.