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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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The 77 foot commercial fishing vessel Lady Lillian sank while docked in Westport . The cause of the sinking is unknown and it is not known if any crewmen were aboard the vessel at the time of the sinking. The Coast Guard is working together with the Washington State Department of ecology to minimize the environmental damage caused by the vessel sinking. Oil spill containment booms have been placed around the sunken vessel and Global Diving and Salvage has been contacted to empty the vessel’s fuel and oil tanks . The vessel was reported to have approximately a 1,000 gallons of fuel on board. The Lady Lillian was discovered submerged at its berth early Monday morning.

Search of the Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Center records discloses that a 77 foot fishing named Lady Lillian, number 574820, was built in 1976 and is registered as being owned by Nhan Thanh Nguyen of Salem, Oregon. The steel hulled vessel was built in 1976 with a listed hailing port of Portland, Oregon.

A vessel which sinks while moored to the dock certainly raises questions about the general maintenance and repair of the vessel and its overall seaworthiness. We can be thankful that this vessel did not sink while working fishing at sea putting the captain and crew of risk of injury or death.

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Three Oregon commercial fishermen have been rescued from a sinking fishing boat 8 miles west of Cape Blanco, Oregon. The three crewmen were working aboard the 60 foot F/V McCalis when the vessel reportedly began taking on water through the fish hold. The crew issued a Channel 16 May Day call to the Coast Guard when their pumps could not keep up with the flooding; the radio call indicated the crew  was abandoning ship into their life raft. Helicopters and coast guard cutters were dispatched in response to the May Day message. The crew were taken aboard the motor life boat with no reported injuries and transported to shore.

This near tragedy was prevented by the crew having proper safety equipment on board. However, the root cause of the sinking is unknown and will be investigated by the Coast Guard. It is important for all commercial fishing vessels to have proper high and low water alarms and check valves in their piping systems. Safety of the crews of commercial fishing vessels depends upon proper maintenance and repair of their vessels. The Coast Guard stresses that incidents such as this support the need for regular inspections of commercial fishing safety equipment.

Early news reports indicate the F/V McCalis has sunk. Photos of the trolling vessel indicate the vessel was most likely fishing for either salmon or tuna. The vessel was homeported in Charleston Oregon. Luckily weather conditions were reported as mild at the time of the incident.

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An Alaska crewman was discovered missing from the tender Beaufort Sea on Sunday.   The 27 year old crewman whose name is being withheld was last seen sleeping alone on the deck of the tender at around six o’clock in the morning. He was noticed to be missing about five your later. Although the circumstances which have caused the crewman to go missing are unclear, the Coast Guard is operating under the assumption the crewman fell overboard. The Coast Guard has been searching the area with three Coast Guard cutters and a helicopter. The crewman was reported to not have been wearing a work vest or life jacket. The Beaufort Sea is described in news reports as a 60 foot tendering vessel. The Sunday accident occurred near Juneau Alaska. There were no witnesses to the possible accident and details about the incident are limited at this time. Hope for a favorable outcome remain.

Many employers and vessel owners now require their crewman to wear work vests and/or life jackets when working on decks. Use of personal floatation devices greatly increased the probability of a crewman surviving a fall over board, capsizing or vessel sinking.


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A Washington State ferry worker who was permanently injured at work when a passenger gangway collapsed at the Port of Bellingham has passed the first hurdle in having a 16 million dollar jury verdict in her favor affirmed. On July 6, 2016 United States Federal District Court Judge Marsha Pechman issued an order denying the Port of Bellingham’s motion to set aside the jury verdict. The Port of Bellingham’s list of claimed errors in the case were each reviewed and dismissed by Judge Pechman.. The Court found that the Port of Bellingham presented no new evidence or arguments to warrant setting aside the verdict or to grant the Port’s request for a new trial.

The Port of Bellingham attacked four jury instructions given in the case by Judge Pechman, however, Judge Pechman dismissed these claimed errors pointing out that the instructions were Washington State pattern jury instructions routinely given cases throughout Washington State.

The Port of Bellingham also argued that the 16-million-dollar verdict was the result of the jury’s passion or prejudice and so large as to be shockingly outside the range of evidence. The Court rejected these arguments of the Port citing Washington case law which states that “damage awards should not be overturned unless they are clearly outside the range of substantial evidence in the record” and the Court held that the case did not fall into this category. The Court noted that there is a strong presumption in favor of the correctness of a jury verdict.

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