Boat on the sea
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Bristol-Bay-Dockside-Exams-300x214Commercial fishing continues to be among the most hazardous jobs in the U.S. but there are many ways vessel owners and crew members can mitigate risk. In an effort to prepare for the 2019 Bristol Bay commercial salmon season, the U.S. Coast Guard is offering free dockside examinations for all commercial fishing vessels. Locations and dates are as follows:

King Salmon: June 6-21

Dillingham: June 10-20

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Tillamook-Bay-1024x676A 55-year-old captain was medevaced by the U.S. Coast Guard after he reportedly suffered a heart attack while working aboard the F/V EMERALD SEAS. The vessel was located approximately 20 miles west of Tillamook Bay, Oregon when the incident occurred.

Watchstanders at Sector Columbia River Command Center in Warrenton received the distress call from the vessel, then dispatched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Astoria. A 47-foot motor lifeboat was also dispatched from Station Tillamook Bay in Garibaldi.

The vessel captain reported that he had suffered a heart attack in the past, and was therefore aware of the symptoms, and was able to self-administer Nitrol in response. The captain was transferred to the motor lifeboat before being hoisted by the helicopter to make for a smoother transition. He was then flown to emergency responders at the Tillamook Airport.

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AquacultureThis month a new bill called the Keep Fin Fish Free Act (H.R. 2467) was introduced in response to the growing concerns regarding aquaculture operations. Alaska Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced legislation that would stop officials from the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Commerce from authorizing commercial finfish aquaculture operations in the Federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) unless specifically authorized by Congress. This legislation has many supporters across environmental and anti-fish farming organizations including Healthy Gulf, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Friends of the Earth, and NOAA.

The concerns raised regarding these facilities involve pollution spread by untreated wastewater, the spread of pests and diseases to native species, the introduction of even more antibiotics into our waters, and spills like the incident that occurred in August 2017 that resulted in more than 260,000 non-native Atlantic salmon being released into Puget Sound. However, one of the greatest concerns among aquaculture critics is the need to harvest wild fish in order to produce the feed necessary to raise open net pen Atlantic salmon.

“The seafood industry is critical to Alaska’s economy, and we must be doing all we can to protect the health and integrity of our state’s wild fish stock,” said Congressman Don Young. “If not properly managed, industrial aquaculture operations threaten Alaska’s unique ecosystem with non-native and genetically modified fish species. My legislation takes needed steps to prevent the unchecked spread of aquaculture operations by reigning in the federal bureaucracy, and empowering Congress to determine where new aquaculture projects should be conducted. It’s up to us to ensure that our oceans are healthy and pristine, and I urge my friends on both sides of the aisle to join me in this important effort.”

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HandXRayA 22-year-old crewmember who was working aboard the 254-foot F/V PHOENIX was evacuated near La Push, Washington on Tuesday after he sustained a hand injury.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received the emergency call at approximately 11:28. A boater in the area made the call on behalf of the F/V PHOENIX and reported that the vessel was located about 25 miles west of the Coast Guard Station Quillayute River.

Initially, the Coast Guard Cutter Cuttyhunk and boat crew from Station Quillayute River responded to the call. However, due to rough seas, they were unable to transfer the injured worker aboard the vessel. Winds of 12-knots per mile and 11-foot waves were reported.

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USCGC_HickoryThe U.S. Coast Guard has released the results of the investigation into the crane accident that took the life of Chief Warrant Officer Michael Kozloski on January 31st, 2019. The accident occurred in the Coast Guard buoy yard in Homer, Alaska. The 35-year-old accident victim from Mahopac, New York, was a crew member aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory. A 17-year veteran, he was working in the vessel buoy yard when a crane rolled over and struck him.

The investigation revealed that the direct cause of the accident was the improper operation of the shoreside crane. Investigators also found that inadequate crewmember training, a complacency of shoreside operations, and leadership deficiencies aboard the Cutter Hickory contributed to the accident.

The commanding officer of the Cutter Hickory has been temporarily relieved of duty, with “loss of confidence in the officer’s ability to perform his duties” as the official reason cited. The call was made by Rear Adm. Matthew Bell Jr., who is the commander of the 17th Coast Guard District. A formal review is pending.

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SS-SavannahOn May 22nd we observe National Maritime Day, a holiday that recognizes and honors one of our country’s most important industries. Since it’s very beginnings, our country has identified itself as a seafaring nation. Our economy, commerce, and security depend on those who work at sea. On this day, we honor this history and the men and women who work in the maritime industries and trades.

The date was originally chosen as it was the anniversary of the day the American steamship Savannah set sail for the first ever transoceanic journey in a ship powered by steam. On May 22nd, 1819 the vessel headed for England on the first ever journey of this kind, in a ship powered by steam (it was actually a hybrid vessel, and so had a little help from the sails). The vessel arrived in England 29 days after leaving the U.S.

Congress officially established the holiday on May 20, 1933, but after WWII the annual celebration took on the flavor of a day of remembrance, as it was the Merchant Marines who had transported supplies and troops to war zones around the world. More than 250,000 Americans served in the Merchant Marines during WWII, and 6,700 were killed during duty. Hundreds were captured and detained as POWs, and over 800 U.S. merchant vessels sank or were damaged in the war zones they entered.

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1200px-DHC-3-Otter-300x141Six people are confirmed dead after two floatplanes collided near Ketchikan, Alaska. Originally, 2 people were missing, but the U.S. Coast Guard and Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad located the remaining two near the crash site of the Beaver floatplane.  They were deceased.

“We have been in regular contact with the family members throughout our search efforts,” said Capt. Stephen White, Sector Juneau commander. “This is not the outcome we hoped for and extend our deepest sympathies during this very difficult time.”

Ten people were taken to area hospitals and four with more serious injuries were flown to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.

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Ann-Kathleen-300x164Crew members were forced to abandon ship when the F/V ANN KATHLEEN caught fire on Thursday, May 2nd just off the coast of Bandon, Oregon. Good Samaritan F/V LYNOMA rescued the fishermen from their life raft, then transferred them to a U.S. Coast Guard vessel after it arrived on the scene. No one was reported to have suffered injuries in the accident.

On Thursday afternoon at low tide, the 64-foot wood and fiberglass fishing vessel washed ashore just north of Floras Lake. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department reported that the vessel was still burning when it ran aground. Bandon Fire Chief Lanny Boston said the vessel was carrying approximately 2,000 gallons of diesel, which fueled the fire. By Friday, the fire had been successfully extinguished. Officials are investigating the cause of the fire.

Members of the local fire department, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality all evaluated the site for toxic materials. They are creating a response plan to safeguard the beach and a nearby shorebird nesting area. The area in which the vessel burned is a designated recovery area for the threatened western snowy plover. Officials have contacted the vessel’s owner and insurance company.

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Coast-Guard-Cutter-Healy-1800-300x200The U.S. Coast Guard recently released the new Arctic Strategic Outlook with a focus on leadership and innovation in the changing landscape of our nation. At a symposium in Seattle, Washington, the area commander discussed the new document and the role that the U.S. Coast Guard must take in the future. Keynote speaker Vice Adm. Linda Fagan said, “The tyranny of distance and the harsh Arctic climate pose significant challenges to agencies charged with providing maritime safety and security to all Americans, including the hundreds of villages and thousands of seasonal workers in the U.S. Arctic.”

Maritime workers rely heavily on the U.S. Coast Guard as first responders, but the Coast Guard also services the maritime economy as a regulatory agency; it is responsible for conducting marine inspections and serving as law enforcement.

“Search and rescue, law enforcement, marine safety, waterways management, and other Coast Guard missions are complicated by the Arctic’s dynamic and remote operating environment,” Fagan said at the symposium. “The Coast Guard will collaborate with stakeholders to develop new practices and technology to serve the maritime community and manage risk in the region.”

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Nylon-Nets-300x225It is estimated that our oceans hold 640,000 tons of discarded fishing gear. This “Ghost Gear” refers to any fishing gear that has been abandoned, lost, or discarded, often due to severe weather and other circumstances. Old nylon nets often end up in landfills, but more likely end up in our oceans where large sea creatures such as dolphins, sea lions, whales, and sea turtles can get tangled. According to a study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 if we continue to discard plastics, nets, and gear at this rate.

Under the Healthy Seas initiative, organizations and companies are working together to come up with innovative ways to recycle this cast-off plastic and nylon material to create usable and sustainable apparel, soft goods, and building materials.

Aquafil is an Italian based textile company that recently opened its first U.S. based recycling facility in Phoenix, Arizona. Old carpets and fishing nets are broken down into nylon that is then shipped to their Slovenian processing facility. Through a process called ‘Depolymerisation’, the Italian firm turns salvaged and collected fishing nets into a unique yarn that can be used to make consumer goods.