April 10, 2014

M/V TOKITAE, Our Newest Washington State Ferry

Ferry Boats are a frequent sight on Puget Sound, so much so that they seem an integral part of the seascape. They work day and night to transport passengers and vehicles between the east and west shores of Puget Sound, throughout the San Juan Islands, and around various smaller ports.

If you are less than sixty years old and grew up in the area, there’s a chance you are still riding on some of the same ferries you enjoyed as a kid. There is a feeling of nostalgia in that, but these Evergreen State Class ferries are nearing the end of their lives. Thus, the Washington State Department of Transportation has ordered four new Olympic Class 144-car/1,500 person ferries. TOKITAE is the first of these, due to begin the Clinton-Mukilteo run this June.

This new class of ferry will be versatile like the Issaquah Class ferries, and safer with wider, less angled stair cases and state-of-the-art emergency evacuation systems. It will also better comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements thanks to two elevators.

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March 19, 2014

F/V ALASKA OCEAN Blast Claims Life of Experienced Fisherman

Fisherman Franz d’Alquen, 48, was killed in a blast on board on factory trawler ALASKA OCEAN on March 11 at around 9:20 p.m. According to the initial report, the blast resulted from a welding job setting off some acetylene gas that was leaking from a tank located inside an enclosed space, in this case a storage locker. The locker door was blown from its hinges, hitting Mr. d’Alquen.

Glacier Fish Company owns 376-foot ALASKA OCEAN of Seattle. This tragedy occurred about 165 miles out in the Bering Sea. Our condolences go out to all of Mr. d’Alquen’s family and many friends.

March 12, 2014

F/V SHIRLEY R Crewmate Medevaced for Head Injury

This evening at around 7:13, the crew of SHIRLEY R requested a Coast Guard medevac for one of their men, who had sustained a head injury. The Coast Guard arrived at the scene, about 30 miles west of Grays Harbor, with a motor lifeboat and a Jayhawk helicopter, at about 8:30. The Jayhawk crew hoisted the injured man and set off to Hoquiam, where an EMS team took over. According to the report, the man was then taken in stable condition by ambulance to Grays Harbor Community Hospital.

F/V SEEKER – Man Overboard in Bering Sea – Search Ensues

This morning, about 10 miles northwest of Unimak Island, Alaska, a man went into the water off 98-foot, Newport, Oregon-based SEEKER. According to reports, the crew aboard Good Samaritan trawler-processor SEAFREEZE ALASKA contacted the Coast Guard asking for help searching for the man. A number of other Good Samaritan vessel crews and Coast Guard helicopter crews joined in the effort immediately, with the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley crew arriving to assist during the afternoon.

At the time the seas were 10 feet with winds of 35mph. The missing man is said to be Eric Eder of Waldport, Oregon, a husband and father of young children. How he went into the water has not yet been released and is under investigation. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.

F/V MISS COURTNEY KIM Crewman Medevaced After Crab Pot Injuries

On the evening of March 10, the Coast Guard received word that one of the MISS COURTNEY KIM crew had sustained numerous injuries when a crab pot fell on him. They were near Sanak Island, which is south of King Cove, when this happened. King Cove has the nearest clinic to that area, and is also the crew’s homeport, so 58-foot MISS COURTNEY KIM headed there pending a morning medevac.

The morning medevac was postponed until after an infant suffering from respiratory distress, in an unrelated emergency, was first medevaced from King Cove to Cold Bay. The Coast Guard helicopter crew then returned to King Cove for the crewman and transported him to Cold Bay. From there, the man was taken to Anchorage by commercial transportation for further medical treatment.

The man’s identity and current condition have not been released. Hopefully, both he and the infant are recovering well at this time.

March 1, 2014

F/Vs MISS JANA and EQUINOX - Good News Thanks to Good Samaritans

The crews of 30-foot F/V MISS JANA and 50-foot F/V EQUINOX, both hailing out of Cordova, AK, and owned by Leslie P. Allen of Valdez, came to the rescue of three people whose 36-foot Belltech 5 was sinking near Valdez Wednesday night.

The Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast as soon as the Belltech 5 crew alerted them via VHF 16 what was happening. Fortunately, MISS JANA and EQUINOX were close enough to make the difference.

The Belltech 5 had already sunk with her crew already in the water when MISS JANA arrived to pull them out. The three rescued men were then transferred to EQUINOX, which in turn transferred them to the Coast Guard for further transport for medical care. Conditions at that time included snow, 7mph winds, and 3-foot seas.

According to the Coast Guard, the Belltech 5 sunk to a depth of 1,200 with no noted pollution. That this vessel sank is the bad news. The good news is that three men are alive thanks to their timely communication via the proper channel, VHF 16, the Coast Guard’s quick response, and two Good Samaritan fishing vessel crews, the likes of which are responsible for saving so many men and women who might not otherwise be here to tell their tales.

Of course, potential pollution is being monitored and an investigation of the cause is underway.

February 27, 2014

OCEAN PHOENIX – Severe Hand Injury Medevac in Alaskan Waters

On Tuesday, February 25, the Coast Guard was called in to medevac a crewman, aged 25-30, for a severe injury to his left hand. According to the record, the Coast Guard medevaced the man from OCEAN PHOENIX via helicopter to Cold Bay, and from there he was taken to Providence Medical Center in Anchorage.

Reports indicate that this happened about 85 miles northwest of Cold Bay. The crewman’s name and current condition have not been released. At the time of his medevac, winds were at 35mph winds with 10-foot seas.

OCEAN PHOENIX, a 680-foot fish processor owned by Premier Pacific Seafoods of Seattle, has had a slew of bad luck this month. On February 16, one of the crewmen was medevaced for an eye injury. On February 13, a 25-year-old crewmember was medevaced because she was experiencing chest pains.

OCEAN PHOENIX has an interesting history, which you can read here.

We hope for a swift and complete recovery for all three of these OCEAN PHOENIX crew members. Working at sea has some inherent risks even on the most seaworthy vessels. If you find yourself in a situation in which you've become hurt or ill while working on a vessel, the attorneys at Beard Stacey and Jacobsen are here to answer your questions and explain your rights.

February 17, 2014

OCEAN PHOENIX Crewman Medevaced for Eye Injury

About 34 miles northwest of Cold Bay, Alaska, on Sunday morning, fish processor OCEAN PHOENIX crew members contacted the Coast Guard requesting a medevac for a 30-year-old crewmate who had suffered an eye injury. The Coast Guard arrived to medevac the injured man via Jayhawk helicopter for emergency care in Cold Bay. The man was then transported by commercial airline to Anchorage for further treatment.

Seas during the medevac were reported to be eight to ten feet with low visibility and 28mph winds, including intermittent squalls.

The man’s name and current condition have not been released.

February 10, 2014

F/T KATIE ANN – Damage and Injury in High Seas

Seattle-based factory trawler KATIE ANN had her windows blown out at around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 8, thanks to high winds in a storm which also caused damage on land over the weekend. KATIE ANN was working northwest of Unimak Island at the time.

KATIE ANN fortunately did not lose power and was able to head to Unalaska without Coast Guard assistance, reaching Unalaska that afternoon. According to reports, about six crew members were injured and were seen at the local clinic once KATIE ANN arrived in port; none required medevac.

January 30, 2014

CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION – Man Overboard January 29, 2014

Sadly, one of the crew of 964-foot cruise ship CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION went overboard in the Caribbean Sea near the Yukatan Channel at around 2:30 a.m. yesterday. His absence was not discovered or investigated until after 10:30 a.m. During those eight hours, CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION continued her route from Cozumel, Mexico, toward Port Everglades, Florida.

Apparently, closed-circuit cameras were reviewed only after a pair of shoes was discovered next to a deck railing; the video footage revealed a person going overboard. The ship crew were then able to calculate where this unfortunate incident occurred and alert the U.S. Coast Guard in Florida. The Coast Guard began a search, but they have not located the man.

The man has been identified as Inyoman Bagiada, 45, from Indosesia. He was working as a cook on board.

Person-overboards on cruise ships are not uncommon. Roughly there is one overboard per month somewhere in the world. (Since December, this is the fifth overboard reported from a cruise ship.) Because person-overboards are not rare, there has been much discussion recently about fitting cruise ships with higher rails and with sensors in hopes of a much quicker response when someone goes over. The higher rails have already been fit to some cruise ships, but there is the argument that not all of the sensor technology that has been developed so far would fit every type of ship. There is also concern that with sensors there would be too great a number of false alarms. The issue of sensors will probably continue to be up for debate while various solutions are considered.

In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers to out to all those affected by these tragedies.