July 20, 2014

F/V VERNON Takes On Water But Avoids Sinking

Friday morning, the crew of purse seiner VERNON contacted the Coast Guard with the news that they had a foot of water in their engine room. This happened near Ketchikan, Alaska, in seas of two feet with 10 mph winds. The Coast Guard sent out two boats in response. A Coast Guard team with four dewatering pump were able stabilize the flooding enough to escort VERNON back to port. The cause of the flooding is under investigation.

VERNON appears to be home ported in Seattle, with owners based in Renton, Washington. This vessel is wooden-hulled and built in 1920.

July 10, 2014

Rudy Dushkin Jr. Falls Overboard of F/V MATT-MICHELLE, Perishes

On the morning of July 6, while weighing anchor near King Cove, Alaska, a large swell broadsided 32-foot, Juneau-based MATT-MICHELLE, sending 53-year-old Rudy Dushkin Jr. overboard. The only other person on the vessel was the owner/captain, Bert Bendixon. Mr. Bendixon sent a distress call as he threw a life ring to Mr. Dushkin, but Mr. Dushkin had already drifted too far away. Some details of the recovery efforts have yet to be verified, but according to one report, the captain was eventually able to get to Mr. Dushkin with a long line and then, after donning a survival suit, he jumped into the frigid water and pulled Mr. Dushkin to land. Mr. Dushkin is said to not have been wearing a life jacket.

On land, the F/V MISS ROXANNE crew assisted in trying to revive Mr. Dushkin. Sadly, no one was able to resuscitate him.

As an investigation by authorities continues, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Rudy Paul Dushkin, Jr.

F/V JEANOAH Crew Avoids Sinking Thanks to Coast Guard and Good Samaritan F/V KATHERINE

Yesterday, the crew of 67-foot JEANOAH began taking on water in the Shelikof Straight about 40 miles west of Kodiak, Alaska. The captain contacted the Coast Guard with the news that they’d struck a rock and needed help. The Coast Guard sent out a helicopter and a cutter, as well as issued an urgent marine information broadcast.

The crew of KATHERINE heard the UMIB and headed over to help tow JEANOAH into safer water. A Coast Guard swimmer from the cutter, ROANOKE ISLAND, delivered dewatering pumps and effected basic temporary repairs. Seaworthy enough to travel under her own power again, JEANOAH then began her trip back in calm weather to her home port of Kodiak, escorted by ROANOKE ISLAND.

Quick action and help from the Coast Guard and KATHERINE saved JEANOAH from what might have been a very different fate.

June 30, 2014

TERESA D Good Samaritans Save Five Men on Columbia River – One Man Perishes

On June 20, around 9:20 a.m, a 25-foot aluminum fishing guide boat with six men on board went down in near the Columbia River bar. Witnesses say the boat flipped over in heavy waves. All six of the men on the boat were wearing life jackets, so the men on TERESA D, were able to locate five of them and fish them out safely. Unfortunately, a six man, said to be Craig Robert Biggs of West Linn, Oregon, had become entangled in line or net, and could not be resuscitated when the Coast Guard located him.

The TERESA D crew had seen that the fishing boat was having trouble, so they had been keeping an eye on them and following. This, their safety preparedness and communication equipment, and their quick action saved the five men.

Good Samaritans play a huge role in keeping each other safe out there. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Craig Robert Biggs.

June 27, 2014

Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Update

Recently, the Coast Guard in Alaska terminated three fishing vessel voyages, one for not having emergency flares, and two for not having other necessary safety gear on board. All commercial fishing vessels are required by law to have safety gear and a crew trained in how to use it.

Briefly, depending on vessel and crew size and working distance from shore, each fishing vessel is required to carry personal flotation devices (PDFs), emersion suits, and/or survival craft; lifesaving rings; distress signals like flares, flags, and smoke signals; an electronic position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB); and fire fighting equipment. All this equipment must be maintained and tested as specified. For the requirements pertaining to your fishing vessel, check out 46 CFR 28.100 – 165.

The Coast Guard continues to conduct free dockside safely inspections, free of penalties. If there are discrepancies, they will provide a list of what you need to do to correct them. Vessels passing inspection receive a safety decal to display. The dockside safety inspection is voluntary until October 16, 2015, when it becomes mandatory. The Coast Guard can conduct at-sea inspections at their own discretion, and the 46 CFR 28 requirements must be met or the voyage is terminated and remains terminated until the problems are rectified. To request a voluntary dockside safety inspection, please click here.

Commercial fishing continues to be among the most hazardous jobs in the U.S., and any work at sea and in weather involves risk, but we can make good decisions about safety to offset the risks. Being prepared on a seaworthy vessel will go a long way toward getting your crew mates, your haul, and yourself back to shore, SAFELY.

June 12, 2014

F/V OPTIMUS Crewman Medevaced for Laceration Injury

According to reports, on June 10, about 90 miles south of Seward, Alaska, a 28-year-old crewman aboard OPTIMUS suffered a serious laceration from a fish hook, serious enough that the Coast Guard flight surgeon recommended a four-hour window for the medevac via Coast Guard helicopter to Anchorage for treatment. The medevac was completed in 2-1/2 hours.

OPTIMUS is 58 feet long and hails out of Sitka. Weather at the time was 10mph hour winds and four-foot seas.

June 5, 2014

F/V ALPINE COVE - Chemical Leak Claims Life of Cody Cecil in Kodiak, Alaska

The Coast Guard and Kodiak Police Department are investigating the death of a 30-year-old Cody Cecil, of Everett, Washington, who died yesterday on board F/V ALPINE COVE while the vessel was moored in Kodiak, Alaska. Four other crew members were evacuated and much of the harbor had to be cleared. One man, Francis Rutten of Snohomish, Washington, had to remain in the hospital for further treatment.

Apparently, the crew was asleep when a chemical, possibly chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), from the vessel refrigeration system leaked. According to reports, one of the crew smelled something strange and called Emergency for help as he tried to waken the crew. The investigation includes looking into any potential connection with some welding work had been done on the vessel hours earlier.

F/V ALPINE COVE is a 76-foot vessel, built in 2001, owned by Alpine Cove Fisheries, LLC, of Woodinville, Washington. At the time of the leak, ALPINE COVE was moored in St. Herman’s Harbor, one of the marinas located at Near Island in Kodiak.

Most people recognize Freon as the name for CFCs; it’s the trade name given by DuPont for its brand. One of the more common CFCs in use is dichlorodifluoromethane (R-12). CFCs are used in many fishing vessel refrigeration systems. Because of CFCs are linked to ozone depletion, they are strictly regulated and are being phased out of use. CFCs are not only intrinsically toxic, but they also displace oxygen. Exposure at only 11% can result in nausea, difficulty breathing, heart arrhythmia, dizziness, and numerous neurological problems. This is not the first time chemical exposure on board a fishing vessel has resulted in needless tragedy.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and many friends of Cody Cecil. We wish Francis Rutten and anyone else injured a swift and complete recovery.

May 22, 2014

Brand New Yacht BÄDEN Capsizes and Sinks First Time in the Water

On May 18, moments after she touched water in her very first launch, 85-foot, $10 million M/V BADEN capsized on her port side and began to sink.

The launch came after more than two years of pain-staking at Northern Marine Industries to build this beautifully appointed expedition style vessel. She was rolled out to the Fidalgo Bay Marina in Anacortes, Washington, christened, and began her short, sad journey into the drink.

At one point during the launch, she seemed to shift in her cradle, but no problem could be found, and the launch proceeded. There were about six people on board at the time, some of whom had gone down below to adjust the ballast at the first signs of instability. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do as she took on water. All who were on board besides one man were rescued fairly quickly, but that one man was trapped below decks until one of the officers took a fire ax to a port hole and pulled him out. No one was seriously injured, although the man who’d been trapped suffered scrapes and bruises from his ordeal, and felt lucky to have been rescued.

As of Tuesday, BÄDEN had been raised in a sling, and water pumps and salvage contractors are working away. There are no reports of pollution, as there was very little fuel on board for the launch. Salt water has ruined the interior, although her builders have expressed hope that the hull may be reworked and that she may yet sail someday.

Why did this happen? There is some speculation, of course, as the investigation continues. Investigations like these can take a while, but they will surely find the reason why, and pass on the lesson learned.

May 20, 2014

S/V CHEEKI RAFIKI – Search Continues in North Atlantic for Missing Crewmen

On noon Saturday, May 18, the crew of M/V MAERSK KURE discovered an overturned hull of a sailing yacht about 1,000 miles east of the U.S. northeast coast. That’s where the last beacon from CHEEKI RAFIKI had been noted. Because of 15-foot seas and winds of over 50 knots, the MAERSK KURE crew was not able to get close enough to confirm the hull as that of CHEEKI RAFIKI. However, the container ship remained in the area until Sunday night in hope of finding survivors before having to sail on.

The first sign of distress had come at 12:30 a.m., May 16, with the activation of two EPIRBs and word that CHEEKI RAFIKI was taking on water in foul weather. The initial search by U.S., Canadian, and other nation's assets for the yacht initiated from that time and continued until 5:00 a.m., May 19, covering over 4,000 square miles by sea and by air, in hopes that the crew had found safety in their life raft. That search was called off because it had more than twice surpassed the 20 hours that survival models indicated for such weather conditions.

CHEEKI RAFIKI, a Beneteau 40.7, was en route to the U.K. from the Caribbean at the time of her distress. Her crew are said to be Paul Goslin, 56; Steve Warren, 52; James Male, 23; and Andrew Bridge, 21, all experienced sailors from the south of England.

After ongoing requests and support from the men’s family, citizens, and government in the U.K., including billionaire Richard Branson and Prime Minister David Cameron, the U.S. Coast Guard resumed the search for these men as of today. Family and friends believe, “There is still hope.” We are adding our hopes and prayers to theirs.

May 19, 2014

U.S. Commercial Fisheries – Controversy Between Coasts Over Magunuson-Stevens Act Reauthorization

In 1976, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act was passed in response to the large number of non-U.S. fishing vessels in our waters, and the seriously reduced, threatened fish stock resulting from years of overfishing by non-U.S. and U.S. vessels alike. From the passage of this Act onward, the U.S. claimed a 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) wherein only U.S. vessels can fish. The Act also gave the U.S. government the power to make and enforce regulations and laws to protect fish and other sea life, and thus the livelihoods of those working in our commercial fishing industry.

The Act has been reauthorized with new amendments twice so far since 1976, once in 1996 and again in 2006, but expired as of this past September. In keeping with the general state of factionalism in the U.S., there are two conflicting versions of bills offered in order to reauthorize the Act this fourth time. The lines are split between the Democrats and Republican bill committees, which just happens to mark the differing needs and ideologies between the U.S. Pacific Ocean fisheries and the U.S. Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico fisheries.

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