Articles Posted in Alaska Fishing News

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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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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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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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A seriously injured Alaska fisherman has been airlifted from the IRENE H.  The injury happened about three miles south of Sitkinak.  Few details of the accident are currently available and the limited information available indicates the crewman suffered an arm injury.  More details will be available from the USCG 2692 casualty report.  Weather conditions at the time of the incident were reported to be 25 MPH winds with 10-12 seas.

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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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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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A crewman was discovered missing and presumed overboard off a 587-foot oil tanker near Cold Bay, Alaska.   The 23-year-old crewman was reported to have fallen overboard off the M/V CHALLENGE PRELUDE, a Hong Kong registered vessel bound for Anchorage. On Sunday, after discovering the missing crewman the vessel reversed course along its original track in attempts to locate the missing crewman. Coast Guard aerial search for the missing man was to resume today. Mild weather was reported in the area with winds of 9 mph and seas of three feet. Water temperature was estimated at 39 degrees. The circumstances of how the man fell over board are unknown. It is also unknown whether or not he was wearing a work floatation type vest.

In other Alaska fishing news on Friday the Coast Guard medevac’d a 44-year-old man from the F/V SAINTE PETER. The injured crewman was reported unconscious and unresponsive by the vessel Captain. A Coast Guard helicopter hoisted the man from the vessel and transported him 60 miles to Dutch Harbor for medical assessment. The Coast Guard stated: “Saving lives is one of our missions,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Trevor Frommherz, District 17 command center search and rescue controller. “The Coast Guard is on call 24 hour a day, seven days a week. We have assets and personnel available to assist in all weather conditions and in any type of situation, as we are always ready.”

The on call Coast Guard flight surgeon is valuable for all fishing vessels working in Alaska. The Coast Guard may be contacted for medical advise about how to treat an injured or ill crewman and may help access the need to emergency medical evaluation. Early treatment for injured or ill crewman can be the difference between life and death. Don’t put fishing profits over a crewman’s safety, get a seriously injured or ill crewman to shore for treatment as soon as possible.

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The Alaska Ranger sank in the Bering Sea on March 23, 2008 resulting in one of the Coast Guard’s most extensive investigations into the cause of a sinking of a commercial fishing vessel. Owned by the Fishing Company of Alaska the Alaska Ranger was a 185-foot long catcher processor and carried a crew of 47 fishermen. Five crewmen lost their lives when the vessel sank, and many of the 42 surviving crewmen spent hours in the pitch black freezing water before being rescued in one of the Coast Guard’s most heroic efforts.

The Coast Guard and National Transportation held public Coast Guard Casualty hearings in an attempt to determine the cause of the Alaska Ranger’s sinking. Multiple expert and witnesses testified at the hearing, including Rodney Lundy, the vessel’s assistant engineer. Lundy, a critical witness, was the assistant engineer on watch at the time the vessel began to take on flooding in its engine room.

The Seattle Times has extensively covered the cause and circumstances surrounding the Alaska Ranger sinking. The Times is now reporting on the ten-year anniversary of the vessel sinking that Lundy is now disclosing new critical information that was withheld from his testimony during the hearings in 2008. The Seattle Times reports that Lundy now claims he complained to the Alaska Ranger’s Japanese fish master about nets being stacked on deck around the engine room vents. Lundy reportedly claims that as the vessel sank the nets stacked around the starboard engineer room vent prevented him from closing the vent and allowing seawater to down flood directly into the engine room. According to the Seattle Times report: Lundy says two Fishing Company of Alaska officials, at different times, told him to keep quiet about the problems he had trying to close the vent. The officials identified by Lundy were unavailable to provide comment to the Seattle Times reporter

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