Boat on the sea
Published on:

Coast-Guard-MH-60-JayhawkThanks to the swift efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard and good Samaritan F/V Pacific Pearl, three fishermen in Sitka Sound were rescued this week after their vessel began taking on water.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a distress call from the captain of the 33-foot F/V Leona at about 10:30pm. It was reported that the vessel was taking on water and bilge pumps were unable to keep up with the rate of flooding. Watchstanders urgently requested an Air Station Sitka Jayhawk MH-60 be dispatched to the scene.

An emergency dewatering pump was lowered onto the vessel, but the F/V Leona was taking on water too rapidly; the pump could not keep up. The three crewmembers were forced to abandon ship as the vessel began sinking into Sitka Sound. The good Samaritan F/V Pacific Pearl was able to take the three crewmembers aboard then transport them to Sitka.

Published on:

MYSTIC_LADYThe U.S. Coast Guard rescued five adults and two children after the 58-foot F/V Mystic Lady sunk near Thorne Bay, Alaska.

Shortly after 4am on Friday, June 29th, watchstanders at the Station Ketchikan received a 406-emergency position indication radio beacon alert in addition to a mayday broadcast via VHF-FM Channel 16, that the vessel had hit a rock and was quickly taking on water. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew was launched and on their way to the scene by 4:34. The rescue crew traveled approximately 40 miles and reached the mariners by 5:30am. They arrived to find the F/V Mystic Lady underwater and 7 people in an inflatable life raft waving their arms.

“We were the first to arrive on scene, and I’m thankful that we were able to assist these people as quickly as we could,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Fischer, the small boat coxswain during the case. “With the inflatable life raft that the survivors used, they increased their own chances of survival exponentially until we were able to be on scene and assist.”

Published on:

Port-of-LongviewThe U.S. Coast Guard has launched an investigation after a serious incident killed two maritime workers and injured several others this week. The incident occurred Thursday morning, June 28, 2018, at Terminal 5 in Longview, Washington.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River received word from the captain of the Ansac Splendor, a Panama-flagged cargo vessel, that a mooring line had parted (snapped in half) as the ship was being moved along the dock from one loading hatch to another to facilitate the loading of cargo.

An initial report from investigators states that when the 2-inch thick line broke, it struck 34-year-old maritime worker Byron Jacobs. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Other workers were also struck by the mooring line; a second worker, 41-year-old Ping-Shan Li of China, was critically injured at the scene and taken to Southwest Washington Medical Center for care. He died on Friday from injuries sustained in the incident. Li was the chief mate of the Ansac Splendor.

Published on:

Alex-HaleyThe fishing vessel Run Da was detained by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley on June 23rd after the vessel was suspected of illegal fishing activity in international waters 860 miles east of Hokkaido, Japan. A total of 80 tons of chum salmon and one ton of squid were found onboard.

The Alex Haley crew and People’s Republic of China Coast Guard officials conducted a joint international boarding of the Run Da after a U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak C-130 aircraft spotted the fishing vessel, which was suspected of violating the worldwide driftnet moratorium issued by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution.

After initial arrival on the scene, the U.S. Cost Guard and People’s Republic of China Coast Guard officials participated in a pre-boarding question and answer interview via VHF-FM radio. The results of this conversation confirmed fishing activity and the nationality of the vessel. The captain of the F/V Run Da admitted to fishing with driftnets up to 5.6 miles in length.

Published on:

WashingtonStatePilotageThe 150-year anniversary of the Washington Pilotage Act was celebrated last week at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington. Elected officials Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, Kevin Van De Wege and Mayor Deborah Stinson were all in attendance.

Mayor Stinson welcomed all pilots to the Northwest Maritime Center and praised them for their leadership in safeguarding our state’s maritime economy as well as the environmental health of our waterways.

According to historian Alice Alexander, the original pilotage program was created in 1868 by a territorial act. It was later repealed, then replaced with the Puget Sound Pilots organization, which requires all foreign vessels traveling in the Puget Sound and adjacent waters that engaged in foreign trade, have professional piloting services. This requirement was initiated to protect Puget Sound waterways against loss of life, loss or damage to vessels or property, and to protect the environment.

Published on:

Motor-LifeboatAn injured fisherman was medevaced to Grays Harbor in Westport on Monday, June 18th after sustaining a severe hand injury while working aboard F/V Myrna Lynn.

Watchstanders at Sector Columbia River received a call at 8:15a.m. that a 50-year-old fisherman had sustained a hand injury and was in immediate need of medical assistance. The fishing vessel was located approximately 13 miles west of Grays Harbor when the call came in.

The Coast Guard responded with a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew, and the injured worker was transported to Station Grays Harbor in Westport. Due to the nature of the injury, he was then transported to Grays Harbor Community Hospital for specialized emergency medical care. The worker was reported to be suffering from a severe hand injury and shock.

Published on:

120px-Piper_Super_Cub_1_1998-07-07-1024x654Coast Guard personnel have located the wreckage of a missing PA-18 Super Cub float plane that was reported overdue.

Two men departed at approximately 7:15 p.m. on Sunday, June 10th for what was to be a 20-minute flight over Katlian Bay and Olga Strait. When they did not return, a search was launched by the Coast Guard. An Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was deployed as well as a 154-foot Fast Response Cutter. The Coast Guard located the wreckage shortly after 10:30 p.m. in the Katlian River near the bay.

It is with great sadness that we report neither of the two men survived. The pilot has been identified as 45-year-old Stonie Huffman of Sitka, Alaska. He had been the owner of Frontier Charters and Lodge for 15 years. The passenger was 66-year-old James Ronge of Turlock, California.

Published on:

Coast-Guard-Adrift-300x225Four mariners required a U. S. Coast Guard rescue when their 48-foot F/V Soulmate became disabled, adrift, and unable to anchor. Watchstanders received the initial distress call from the vessel via VHF radio, but reception was so unreliable that the use of a satellite phone was required.

“This case highlights the importance of having multiple means of communications,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Taylor, a Sector Anchorage watchstander. “The availability of both a VHF radio and a satellite phone on board the vessel allowed for consistent communication with the master providing up to date information and situational reports.”

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Naushon responded to the disabled fishing vessel, located about 57 miles west of Kodiak Island and just south of Shelikof Strait. The Coast Guard Naushon crew towed the four crewmembers of the F/V Soulmate to the south side of Kodiak Island. The mariners took refuge at the Lazy Bay cannery in Alitak Bay.

Published on:

Rope_Tiedown-1024x683Commercial fishing vessels must comply with safety regulations established by federal and maritime law. When violations are found during a boarding inspection, a vessel may be issued a violation and possibly a fine. When violations are particularly dangerous to the crew or the environment, they fall into a different category known as “especially hazardous conditions”.  After finding several safety violations and environmental infringements, the U.S. Coast Guard terminated the voyage of the F/V Nushagak Spirit sighting “especially hazardous conditions”.

The vessel was located approximately three miles east of Umnak Island when the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, a 378-foot high endurance cutter based in Seattle, Washington, conducted the onboard inspection. They found one fishing violation, 14 safety violations, as well as the improper discharge of bilge water. The vessel master admitted to pumping bilge water over the side of the vessel, which is in direct violation of the Clean Water Act. The U.S. Coast Guard sent this vessel back to port. Federal law deemed this vessel “unseaworthy”.

“We perform at-sea safety inspections to ensure mariners are operating in compliance with commercial fishing vessel safety and environmental regulations,” said Capt. John Hollingsworth, 17th District incident management branch chief. “These regulations help ensure the safety of life at sea and protect our marine environment.”

Published on:

The-Bering-SeaA 55-year-old fisherman has died after sustaining internal injuries aboard the F/V Ocean Hunter. The 95-foot trawler is owned by Tacoma based Alaska Weathervane Seafoods, LLC. The vessel had been fishing for cod in the Bering Sea at the time of the incident.

According to The Alaska State Troopers’ dispatch, two vessels were tied together in open sea to facilitate a fish transfer. Christopher O’Callaghan was working on the deck when a slack line went taut and struck him in the chest. The bruising and internal injuries from the line resulted in his death. The official report also notes that several crewmembers witnessed the tragic incident. His body was transported to the state medical examiner, and authorities are continuing to investigate.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. O’Callaghan’s family and friends and all who worked beside him. He will be honored at the Fisherman’s Memorial Ceremony on May 27, 2018.