Two injured crewmen have been medevac’d from Alaska fishing vessels 135 miles north of Cold Bay. The crewman aboard the Northern Patriot was reported to have suffered a serious hip injury requiring emergent medical attention. The second crewman developed seasickness with loss of consciousness. The crewmen were both taken to Cold Bay for transfer to Anchorage for further evaluation and treatment.
The Northern Patriot is a 165-foot long trawler owned by Trident Seafoods. The Ocean Peace is a 220-foot long factory trawler. Both vessels are home ported in Seattle, Washington.
Recognizing and reacting to medical emergencies at sea is critical to crewman safety and the ability to recover from injuries. Contacting the Coast Guard for emergency medical advice and possible medical evacuating from a vessel is a vital resource and safety tool all vessel operators should be familiar with. Every vessel operator has a legal duty to provide their crewman prompt emergency medical care. This duty includes consulting with shore side medical experts when necessary to obtain proper medical advice about medical treatment. The duty continues once the crewman reaches shore and the vessel owner has a continuing duty under the maintenance and cure doctrine to pay all reasonable and necessary medical expenses associated with a shipboard injury or illness. This legal duty to provide medical care continues to the crewman reaches maximum medical improvement.
Hip, leg and back injuries to fishing boat deckhands are common injuries with sometimes life long consequence. In most cases vessel safety procedures and properly maintained equipment can prevent these injuries from occurring.
The facts and circumstances surrounding these two injuries are unknown at this time. Working as an Alaska fisherman remains one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Crewman injured aboard fishing vessels are protected by Federal Maritime Laws. If you have questions about your rights to medical care or compensation for injuries you should contact an experienced maritime lawyer for advice. The maritime lawyers at Johnson, Beard and Trueb have over 75 years of combined experience helping injured fishermen, deckhands, and fish processors.