On Monday, June 19, 2017, USCG in Kodiak received a medevac request from the crew of the NEW DAWN. A crew member aboard the NEW DAWN sustained a broken ankle and after consultation with the duty flight surgeon, the decision was made to request medevac from the vessel due to the possible need for orthopedic surgery. A Jayhawk helicopter was dispatched to the vessel located in the vicinity of Shelikof Strait. The injured crew member was safely hoisted from the vessel and transported to Kodiak for medical treatment. The weather conditions at the time were reported to be mild with 17 mph winds.
The F/V New Dawn is a 44.8 foot commercial fishing vessel based out of Kodiak, Alaska. The details of how the crewman was injured are unavailable. Crewman injured aboard fishing vessels in almost all cases are entitled to benefits under Federal Maritime Law. These no fault benefits include the payment of maintenance and cure benefits. Under the maintenance and cure doctrine a vessel owner must pay all reasonable and necessary medical expenses associated with a crewman’s injury. This includes the duty to pay for medical evacuation from the vessel.
Due to the nature of the commercial fishing industry, injuries aboard vessels are common place. Injuries happen for a variety of reasons, whether it was negligence of the vessel owner or an employee, or unseaworthiness of the vessel itself. Under general maritime law, vessel owners have a duty to provide prompt and adequate medical care to the crew, regardless of how the injury occurred. Sometimes that duty requires halting operations and calling for a coast guard medevac or heading to the nearest port. A breach of these duties constitutes negligence under the Jones Act.