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Boat on the sea
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Coast-Guard-MH-60-Jayhawk-300x169A 22-year-old crewmember was medevaced on August 8th after experiencing medical complications due to pregnancy. The crewmember was working aboard the F/V NORTHERN JAEGER, a 308-foot factory trawler owned by American Seafoods.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was dispatched after District 17 Command Center personnel in Alaska received the call for assistance on Saturday morning.

The F/V NORTHERN JAEGER was located about 200 miles northeast of St. Paul, Alaska at the time of the call. U.S. Coast Guard personnel arrived at the vessel at approximately 2:45 p.m., and the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted and transported the crewmember to Cold Bay, Alaska. She was then transferred to a higher level of medical care.

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Coast-Guard-Hoisting2-300x158Watchstanders at U.S. Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay received a distress call from the F/V PIKY on August 4th after a crewmember sustained a serious eye injury and vision loss. The fisherman was reportedly reeling in a tuna when a line slipped, causing a swivel tackle to strike Nathanial Miller, age 24, in the face.

The distress call was relayed to Coast Guard Sector North Bend, Oregon, where a flight surgeon believed it crucial to transport the injured worker to a higher level of medical care as soon as possible.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River as well as an HC-27J Spartan medium-range surveillance aircrew from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento in McClellan, California, were deployed.

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Alaska1200x630-300x158North Pacific Seafoods workers have been awarded a $440,000 settlement after being held for quarantine without pay in a Los Angeles hotel. Stacey and Jacobsen, PLLC first reported the details of this case on July 7th.

Each of the 165 workers who were quarantined is most likely eligible to collect approximately $2,685. That amount will be paid after each worker signs a release to drop further legal action against North Pacific Seafoods. After the workers have been paid, the parties will seek a dismissal.

The workers, who primarily reside in Mexico and Southern California, were hired to work at the North Pacific Seafoods Red Salmon Cannery in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The lawsuit maintained that workers were forced to quarantine in Los Angeles after three members of the team tested positive for COVID-19. North Pacific Seafoods provided no compensation during the quarantine. The lawsuit alleged false imprisonment, nonpayment of wages, failure to pay minimum wages and overtime, negligence, and unlawful business practices.

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Poll-300x150The F/V AMERICAN TRIUMPH remains docked after Eighty-five crew members have tested positive for COVID-19. The factory trawler left Oregon headed for Alaska on June 27th carrying 119 workers. It was reported that two weeks after the ship departed, seven workers reported feeling ill and were tested for COVID-19 in Unalaska. Six of the seven tests came back positive.

The remaining crewmembers were tested last week, and 79 additional tests came back positive, bringing the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 aboard the F/V AMERICAN TRIUMPH to 85. The 285-foot vessel is part of a fleet of six fishing vessels owned by Seattle-based American Seafoods Group, LLC.

According to the American Seafoods Company website, crew members have been relocated to Anchorage to isolate and quarantine. The company has committed to providing quarantine facilities, daily meals, and accessible onsite medical care. They reported that they will use this time to sanitize the vessel. How or if the ill crewmembers will be compensated has not been reported. There are now 97 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the population of Unalaska, Alaska, a community of about 4,500 residents. The local health clinic reports only having 3 ventilators available.

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Kodiak_AK-300x225A fisherman was injured on Monday, July 20th while working aboard the F/V RUBICON. The U.S. Coast Guard command center in Anchorage, Alaska received a call at approximately 12:45 p.m. from the wife of the fishing vessel’s master, informing officials that a medevac was needed for an injured crew member. The vessel was located just north of Kodiak Island at the time of the incident.

An Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter stationed at the District 17 command center was launched, then landed on a nearby beach at about 1:42 p.m. The fisherman was transferred from the 42-foot F/V RUBICON to the awaiting helicopter crew via small boat. The injured crewmember was then medevaced to awaiting emergency medical personnel in Kodiak.

“This was a very quick case,” said Lt. Jared Carbajal, the aircraft commander on the case. “Good communications from the boat, excellent flexibility and the captain’s expert seamanship enabled a very quick pick-up and transfer of the injured fisherman to medical care.”

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Alaska-Beach1200x600-300x150It is with great sadness that we report the deaths of Cole Rutzer and Dylan Furford, two young men who grew up in a tight-knit community near Westport, Washington. They were doing what they loved, working hard, and bringing in Dungeness crab aboard the F/V PACIFIC DYNASTY.

Greg Rutzer, Cole Rutzer’s father, and Brent Gilbertson, a cousin, were also working on the vessel. According to reports, the crew had just dropped their crab pots. Rutzer and Furford loved adventures, and with the little downtime they had, took a Zodiac skiff and Cole’s dog to Tugidak Island, about ½ mile from where the F/V PACIFIC DYNASTY was anchored. They planned on doing some beachcombing on the remote island then return to the vessel in the late afternoon.

Scott McCann, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, said the men had provided a float plan to the captain, Greg Rutzer. They were to return to the vessel before dinner.

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Fishing_Vessel_RescueA 26-year-old man was medically evacuated from the F/V MCKENZIE ROSE after the crewmember sustained a head injury. The vessel was located about 100 miles west of Coos Bay when the injury occurred.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Bend received a marine radio call from the vessel’s captain reporting that a member of the crew needed medical attention.

Communication remained open between the F/V MCKENZIE ROSE and the U.S. Coast Guard Sector as the vessel turned toward shore to meet up with the Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin crew. The injured fisherman was hoisted aboard the MH-65 Dolphin then transported to the U.S. Coast Guard airbase. He was then transferred to emergency medical personnel.

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Naknec-300x158A lawsuit has been filed against North Pacific Seafoods after approximately 150 seasonal cannery workers were forced to quarantine without pay in a Los Angeles hotel. According to the complaint, all workers arrived at a hotel and were instructed to wait together in a crowded hallway to fill out paperwork. The workers reported that they were in close contact with one another for nearly six hours.

Workers were assigned to individual hotel rooms, then tested for the coronavirus. Three of the workers tested positive, and all workers were told they must quarantine until June 25th without pay. The complaint goes on to say that all workers were instructed not to leave their rooms or they would be immediately terminated.

The workers were hired on June 2, 2020, by North Pacific Seafoods to process seafood at the Red Salmon Cannery in Naknek, Alaska. Most of the workers are from Mexico or Southern California, while North Pacific Seafoods is based in Seattle, Washington. Each summer, the company hires hundreds of temporary seafood processors from around the world. Workers are promised round-trip transportation to and from their point of hire as well as lodging and meals.

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Florence_Oregon-300x200It is with great sadness that we report the deaths of two people killed early Monday morning after the F/V AQUARIUS collided with a jetty on the Siuslaw River Bar.

Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector North Bend received a distress call at about 1:50 a.m. from the captain of the vessel, stating that the vessel was taking on water and that all crew members were abandoning ship.

The 13th District command center received a signal from the vessel’s Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon [EPIRB] shortly after the call. The vessel sank near Florence, Oregon.

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Alaska-Iceberg1200x600Approximately 110 crewmembers from three American Seafoods ships have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The F/V NORTHERN JAEGER is docked at the Seattle cruise ship terminal while sick crew members recover. Others are in quarantine after exposure, many in Seattle area hotels. As of today, the F/V AMERICAN TRIUMPH, and F/V AMERICAN DYNASTY have reportedly returned to fishing.

American Seafoods CEO, Mikel Durham, reported that all workers were tested for Covid-19 before they boarded vessels and all crew members were quarantined for a minimum of 5 days, a much shorter period than the recommended 14 days. In a press release dated May 30th, 2020, American Seafoods announced that after COVID-19 outbreaks on three of their vessels they had adopted the recommended 14-day quarantine.

Pandemic safety measures intended for the fishing industry differ from state to state. In Washington, guidelines are recommended, but companies may choose to ignore them or create their own. In the Alaska Protection Plan for Independent Commercial Fishing Harvesters dated May 15, 2020, Governor Mike Dunleavy mandated that all people arriving in Alaska, including residents, workers, and visitors, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival in the state.

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