Boat on the sea
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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.

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Coos-BayThe U.S. Coast Guard recently responded to a call from the 36-foot fishing vessel, Lacie Belle, that a crewmember was suffering from seizures. The call came in at 5:25 p.m. and by 5:54 p.m. an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Sector North Bend was on the scene, approximately 10 miles north of Cape Blanco.

The Coast Guard sent a rescue swimmer down to assess the crewmember and determined that the man needed immediate medical attention. A basket was sent down to the fishing vessel and the crewmember was hoisted to the waiting helicopter (watch the heroic video). The crewmember was successfully airlifted to medical personnel at the Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay, Oregon by 6:28 p.m.

Seizures can happen anytime or any place, but when they occur on a fishing vessel, it is even more important for crewmembers to know how to respond. While there are many types of seizures, most people are familiar with the generalized tonic-clonic seizure, also known as a grand mal seizure, in which a person, falls, shakes, jerks, and cries out. If this happens while at sea, a crewmember must take charge and do the following:

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GMO-SalmonLast week, the Food and Drug Administration approved a supplemental New Animal Drug Application (NADA) submitted by AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. While the original application was approved in 2015, this current application grants AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. the right to raise a GMO salmon species it has developed called AquAdvantage salmon at their farming facility near Albany, Indiana. The facility uses growth tanks rather than ocean pens and will be able to grow 1,200 tons of GMO salmon per year. The facility was designed so it can be expanded quickly to meet higher levels of demand for the new product.

As soon as the FDA and Department of Agriculture agree on guidelines for consumer labeling of the genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon, the company will be allowed to import the genetically modified eggs from their facilities in Canada and Panama, where the company currently genetically engineers its eggs. The eggs will then be grown and sold in the U.S. market.

According to an FDA report, AquAdvantage salmon is a genetically-engineered fish that can reach market growth more rapidly than nonmodified farm-raised Atlantic salmon. The fish are able to grow quickly because they contain DNA composed of the growth hormone gene found in Chinook salmon under the control of a gene from another species of fish called an Ocean Pout, which keeps the Chinook growth hormone gene switched on. This creates a fish that can grow to market weight in 18- to 20-months vs. the 28- to 36-month period it takes to grow farm-raised Atlantic salmon. Wild salmon growth rates vary widely depending on the species.

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Buoy-Life-Ring-Marine-Orange-Cruise-Tourism-651578
Everyone wants a culture of safety. Vessel owners want it, maritime workers want it, and their friends and families want it. But what is it and what steps must an organization or vessel owner take to establish it? It doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It must start at the top, and it must feature consistency, trust, and truth. It is about doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations agency established as the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping, safety culture is defined as follows:

“An organization with a ‘safety culture’ is one that gives appropriate priority to safety and realizes that safety has to be managed like all other areas of the business.”

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Ladder-1024x640There are times when a maritime worker must access high areas on a vessel or travel from one deck to another. In these instances, it makes sense that ladders and steps would be employed. If working at sea weren’t already hazardous enough, enter the dangers of ladders, steps, and gangways.

Ladders can be such a hazard, that the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed a Ladder Safety App for workers, employers, and homeowners. The app contains information and tools to prevent extension and step ladder-related fall injuries and deaths. The app is free, and it has been downloaded over 120,000 times. According to the CDC, ladder and step accidents happen for many reasons, but the following are most common:

  • Incorrect extension ladder setup angle
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C-S_System_OverviewApril 6th is National 406 Day. It is easy to remember, as the date (04/06) corresponds to the 406 MHz frequency used by these devices to transmit digital signals to satellites. These beacons are considered by many in the maritime trades to be the best life insurance available. And in some cases, they are legally required by vessel owners. To read more about safety gear, please see our page regarding life rafts, EPIRBs and survival suits. National 406 Day is also a reminder to anyone with a beacon that federal law requires registration to be current.

What exactly is an EPIRB? It is an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon that works by transmitting a signal via satellite that can then be relayed to a rescue coordination center. The device can be automatically activated (for example if the device is under more than 3 meters of water) or manually activated to transmit a distress signal.

Here is a list of 8 tips NOAA recommends when handling your EPIRB:

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Alaska_RangerIt has been 10 years since the tragic 2008 sinking of the 190-foot fishing vessel Alaska Ranger, which claimed the lives of five of the 47 crewmen aboard. During a 3-year investigation, conflicting findings regarding the cause of the accident were reported. The U.S. Coast Guard originally believed the sinking was caused by an aging hull, while the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found the sinking was caused by the loss of a rudder, which would have left an opening where water could enter the vessel.

One of the surviving crewmembers, Rodney Lundy, the assistant engineer, has recently come forward with additional reasons for the sinking of the Alaska Ranger.

Rodney Lundy remembers preparing the vessel for departure, and having an argument with fishmaster Satoshi Konno, about netting that was stacked around two air vents in the engine room. Lundy wanted the area cleared so the vents could be sealed in the event of flooding. But Konno and other crewmembers refused to move or clear the area.

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https://www.maritimeinjurylawyersblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/155/2018/02/U.S.-Coast-Guard-Helicopter.jpgThe U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for a 22-year-old crewman who was reported missing and presumed overboard, after an extensive search.

The Motor Vessel Challenge Prelude was about 110 miles south of Sand Point, Alaska when the call to command center watchstanders came in. At 2:20p.m. on Sunday, March 25th, it was reported that the crewmember had been missing since approximately 1:30p.m.

An emergency signal was announced aboard the oil tanker Challenge Prelude, and a full search of the vessel was conducted. The ship’s master took the vessel back to the location where the crewman had last been seen, and an inventory of all lifesaving and survival equipment was performed. All equipment was accounted for.

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Fishermen_with_their_halibutThe 2018 Pacific halibut season is set to begin at noon on Saturday, March 24nd, but the U.S. and Canada have failed to reach consensus on limits for the first time since 1990. Both countries have endorsed a quota cut.

The IPHC (The International Pacific Halibut Commission) is an intergovernmental organization that was established between Canada and the U. S. in 1923 to monitor and maintain Pacific halibut stocks at sustainable levels. The organization is recommending limits slightly lower than those of 2017. While research indicates a slight decline in stocks, Pacific halibut continue to remain at healthy levels.

When an agreement can’t be reached, quotas from the previous year are used until new limits can be set. The U.S. and Canada did agree that catch limits should be lower than the 2017 numbers. Through a domestic Interim Final Rule established by NOAA Fisheries, the U.S. is implementing catch limits that are in line with those proposed at the IPHC board meetings.

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SkyTruth_Fleets-1024x521As the world’s demand for seafood continues to rise, new methods for tracking global commercial fishing activities are imperative. In a groundbreaking study published in the journal Science, some extraordinary data are showing how fishing vessels are covering the world’s oceans, and which countries are bringing in the biggest catches.

Much of the data in the study was gathered by Global Fishing Watch, a partnership between Oceana, SkyTruth, and Google. The organization uses high-tech satellite images and AIS (Automatic Identification Systems) to monitor, record, and track the movement of fishing vessels around the globe. In the past, this data was collected using logbooks, observers in fishing ports, and electronic vessel tracking. Despite its suggestive nature, this information was often out of date, incomplete, and inaccurate.

The accuracy of the newer methods is connected to the massive amounts of data collected between 2012 and 2016. Over 22 billion AIS messages were logged, identifying more than 70,000 vessels. Computers running sophisticated software programs searched for patterns in the large data sets. They were able to match vessels to fleet registries and track vessel movements. Computer algorithms were also used to determine when a vessel was fishing and what it was fishing for. For instance, the data collected in 2016 reveals that of the vessels tracked, over 40 million hours were spent at sea and the vessels traveled approximately 460 million kilometers.