Boat on the sea
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Coast-Guard-Rescue1200-300x22542,000 active-duty U.S. Coast Guard members have missed their first paycheck due to the government shutdown. Coast Guard members are continuing to work without pay on essential duties “that provide for national security or that protect life and property during partial government shutdowns,” such as securing U.S. ports and coastlines, search-and-rescue missions, and environmental events.

Active-duty personnel who work in other branches of the military continue to receive pay as they are funded by the Department of Defense, which continues to receive funding during a partial government shutdown. However, the U.S. Coast Guard falls under Homeland Security, one of the nine departments affected by the shutdown. Others include the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior, the Department of State, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Justice. The Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the Smithsonian have all shut down as they are under the umbrella of one of the nine department closures.

On January 4th, a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress called the Pay Our Coast Guard Act. It would allow members of the U.S. Coast Guard as well as its civilian employees and contractors to be paid throughout the shutdown. The bill which is sponsored by Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, and has support from 29 Democrats and 10 Republicans. South Carolina Congressman Joe Cunningham cosponsored the bill.

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Mary-B-IIIt is with great sadness that we report the death of three crew members from the MARY B II. The vessel was returning from crabbing late in the evening on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. The U.S. Coast Guard reported that the 42-foot vessel overturned as it crossed Yaquina Bay Bar in Newport, Oregon, a difficult crossing well known in the fishing industry.

A week-long winter storm had battered the bar with reported waves on Tuesday of 14 to 16 feet. Before it capsized, the MARY B II had requested a Coast Guard escort as it crossed the bar. The 52-foot Motor Life Boat Victory was in the area when two crew members of the MARY B II were washed overboard and the vessel subsequently capsized.

An additional Coast Guard vessel was called to the scene, as well as a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter. James Lacey, 48, from New Jersey was extracted by helicopter and flown to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Joshua Porter, 50, of Toledo, Oregon, washed up on the beach and was treated by emergency medical services; he was taken to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital and pronounced dead.

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Westport_MarinaIn a recent report published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Westport Marina in Washington State was ranked 11th for national seafood landings in 2017. More than 250 commercial fishing vessels make use of the marina each year, landing over $64 million in seafood. This equates to roughly 150 million pounds of salmon, crab, hake, and other species each year.

“We are incredibly proud of the hundreds of commercial fishermen that utilize and depend on the Marina’s facilities and services for their livelihood,” said Westport Marina Business Manager Molly Bold. “Projects planned for 2019 will continue to improve the infrastructure our fishing industry needs to thrive.”

In first place for volume was Dutch Harbor Alaska, which for the 21st year in a row maintained their first-place status with approximately 769 million pounds of seafood landed. The total U.S. harvest for 2017 is estimated at 9.9 billion pounds of fish and shellfish.

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Nordic-Viking-Sinks-300x254The U.S. Coast Guard has taken the lead in the cleanup of over 700 gallons of marine diesel fuel and 50 gallons of gasoline that spilled after the sinking of the F/V NORDIC VIKING. The 71-foot vessel was in Seward Harbor, Alaska at the time of the incident. The cause has yet to be determined.

The Coast Guard will be initially using funds from the Oil Spill Liability and Trust Fund to pay for the cleanup, but the responsible party will be liable for expenses associated with containment, cleanup, and damages. Alaska Chadux, a non-profit organization founded in 1993 after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, has been contracted in the cleanup efforts, and Global Diving and Salvage has been contracted to salvage the 71-foot fishing vessel.

Alaska Chadux had to deploy a second containment boom and absorption pads around the sunken vessel after the first boon was pulled down as the vessel sunk further beneath the water. Global Diving and Salvage has also plugged all fuel vents to prevent any additional fuel leakage.

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Ocean-Pearl-300x173On Saturday, December 8th, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued four crewmembers who abandoned ship after a fire broke out aboard the 75-foot F/V OCEAN PEARL. The vessel was located approximately 16 miles southeast of Cape May, New Jersey at the time of the incident.

Crew members reported that an electrical fire broke out just after 10:30 EST. One of the crew members was able to activate the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) just before abandoning ship.

According to authorities, a call was made to watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay’s command center using a handheld radio. The Cape May station dispatched two 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crews as well as the 87-foot patrol boat CUTTER CROCODILE.

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Screenshot-321The massive earthquake that rocked Anchorage, Alaska, on Friday, November 30th caused widespread damage to roads, buildings, schools, and homes. Initially, a tsunami warning was issued after the quake, but it was revised and canceled after authorities assessed that there would be no giant wave.

The earth began shaking at approximately 8:29 a.m. about eight miles outside of Anchorage. The jolting quake lasted for about one minute and registered 7.0. Many residents reported that they heard the rumbling sound of the quake just before the shaking began. And everyone agreed, it could have been so much worse.

The few fires that started were extinguished quickly, no large buildings collapsed, and no deaths have been reported resulting from the quake. It is widely believed that updated building code requirements and retrofitting efforts created a safer environment for everyone. At a press conference, Governor Bill Walker stated, “Building codes mean something.”

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Inlandboatmens-Union-e1543366046311The Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific turned 100 years old last week and members celebrated the centenarian organization at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The organization, founded on November 20, 1918 in San Francisco, California, has quite a different look today, but the underlying directives set forth then are still with us today; to give workers a strong voice in numbers which in turn creates better working conditions.

When a meeting between deckhands and local fireman was called by Clyde W. Deal (1888-1978), deck workers and engine room workers were brought together under the same union umbrella for the first time in U.S. maritime labor history. Founded in 1918 in San Francisco, they were known simply as the Ferryboatmen’s Union of California. At the time, ferries in San Francisco Bay were owned by thriving railroad companies. Among those who organized were deckhands, watchmen, bargemen, oilers, cooks, waitresses, and firemen.

Prior to 1930, it was not uncommon for deckhands to be forced to work 12 to 18 hours per day. This was not only inhumane but created a dangerous work environment for everyone. Early bargaining successes included an 8-hour work day and a guarantee of a “dismissal wage,” or severance package for ferry workers who were displaced after the building of the San Francisco Bridge.

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ColdBayMapWhen fishermen or crewmembers working in Alaska are injured or fall ill, the U.S. Coast Guard is often called upon to medevac. But what if a vessel is far from assistance? In these situations, long-range medevacs are necessary. Follow the map to see the distances covered and the heroic effort that took place on Sunday, November 18th.

Watchstanders at U.S. Coast Guard 17th District command center received a call that a 63-year-old crewmember working aboard the F/V BLUE ATTU was exhibiting symptoms associated with a stroke. The Coast Guard flight surgeon recommended a medevac, and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter located at Cold Bay, Alaska set out toward the vessel location approximately 100 miles north of St. Paul. Watchstanders also directed an HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Kodiak to travel to St. Paul, and a second MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew was sent from Kodiak to Cold Bay to be on stand-by.

After the Jayhawk helicopter reached St. Paul, refueling took place and the Jayhawk crew embarked a U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer who was brought to St. Paul by the HC-130 Hercules. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy was also in the vicinity of the medevac, and after the Jayhawk aircrew took off from St. Paul, they re-fueled on board the Healy again before transiting to the Blue Attu to conduct the medevac. The crew was forced to abort the medevac due to unfavorable conditions. However, the standby Jayhawk crew was able to successfully conduct the hoist and transport the crewmember back to St. Paul. He was then transported to Anchorage, Alaska for further care. His condition was reported as stable at the time of the transfer.

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USCG-Prowler-Rescue-300x200A yacht and a sport-fishing vessel collided on Friday night about nine miles off the coast of Imperial Beach, California near the U.S. and Mexico border. Several people were injured, and one man has died from injuries sustained in the collision.

According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, Richard Neff, age 66 of San Clemente, California was pronounced dead approximately four hours after the crash. Mr. Neff was injured just before 6 p.m. when the 322-foot “superyacht” ATTESSA IV collided with the PROWLER, a 65-foot San Diego based charter sport-fishing vessel owned by Andrew Viola, Markus Medak, and Drew Card.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 29 people were aboard the PROWLER at the time of the collision, which resulted in multiple injuries and extensive damage to the starboard side of the fishing vessel. A Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and a Coast Guard Station San Diego 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew were dispatched. The Coast Guard Cutter Sea Otter was also diverted to assist.

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The-Bering-Sea-300x142A 56-year-old fisherman is missing after falling overboard on Friday, October 26th. The F/V JUDA LEE was approximately 7 miles off the coast of Nome, Alaska when the incident occurred.

Anthony Shelp, the vessel owner, was reportedly fishing with family members when he fell into the water. Crewmembers tried to pull him back aboard the vessel, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Alaska State Troopers were alerted, and the U.S. Coast Guard was called for assistance at approximately 10:45 a.m.

An Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was launched out of Kotzebue to search for Mr. Shelp. An urgent marine broadcast was also issued to alert all mariners in the area.