Boat on the sea
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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.

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CoastGuardBrookingsA 64-year-old male was injured after sustaining a blunt force trauma to the face by a loose crane hook. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Bend received a call at about 9:55am on Monday, October 22nd from the 334-foot F/V ARCTIC STORM. The vessel was located approximately 25 miles west of Brookings, OR at the time of the incident.

The duty flight surgeon recommended an immediate medevac for the injured man, and an MLB crew aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat from Station Chetco River was dispatched. Upon their arrival, the injured crewmember was stabilized then transported ashore to emergency medical services. His condition is currently unknown.

Crane hook injuries can be devastating as crane hooks are generally constructed from wrought iron or steel to create a durable device that can bear massive amounts of weight. Commercial fishing boats use cranes, crane hooks, and winches to load and unload supplies, catches, and equipment. Crane hooks can fail, cause injuries and even death due to inadequate maintenance, miscommunication, and lack of signals between the crew. Improper use, inappropriate modifications, lack of training, inadequate inspection of the apparatus, and lifting loads that exceed safe ratings may also cause accidents.

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San-Diego-Coast-GuardGood Samaritans aboard the charter fishing vessel Time Machine and Coast Guard officials rescued 15 people on Saturday, October 20th after a fishing boat caught fire approximately 28 miles south of Point Loma.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Diego’s Joint Harbor Operations Center were contacted at about 9:35pm after Time Machine crewmembers saw a nearby fishing boat burning and several people in the water.

The Coast Guard Station San Diego launched a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Haddock to the scene. A Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was also dispatched and Secretaría de Marina (SEMAR) deployed two defender class boats to assist.

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FishA new bill called the Human Trafficking and IUU Fishing Act (H.R.6834) has been introduced in response to two issues that are plaguing our globe: the growing prevalence of human trafficking and forcing those persons to fish illegally thus abusing the worldwide seafood supply chain.

U.S. Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam) states, “The United States must combat human rights abuses across the global seafood industry and ensure that American fishermen are never expected to compete against foreign imports produced with slave labor. Increasingly, we are seeing foreign fishing fleets forcing vulnerable people who are trafficked, drugged and coerced to fish around the clock out of fear for their lives. I am pleased to have the support of my Congressional colleagues on this bipartisan legislation to increase federal action against the global crimes of human trafficking and IUU fishing.”

Since 2016, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has seized approximately 15 shipments of seafood known to have been processed illegally on mainland China by North Korean workers under forced labor. And, in a 2018 report published by the U.S. State Department, over 40 countries were identified as having “substantial human trafficking and forced labor issues across their seafood industries and supply chains”. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is especially prevalent in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.

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Fire-1024x766A 28-year-old crewmember was medevaced to Anchorage, Alaska after suffering burns while working on the EVER LIVING vessel incinerator on Saturday, September 22nd. Coast Guard 17th District Command Center watchstanders received an alert via email regarding the injuries. The Coast Guard duty flight surgeon recommended a medevac based on the man’s symptoms.

The 1,099-foot bulk carrier EVER LIVING was about 621 miles from Dutch Harbor at the time of the alert. The shipmaster was directed by watchstanders to navigate toward the Dutch Harbor station to cut down on transit time. A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew was able to meet the carrier approximately 57 miles southeast of Dutch Harbor, then transport the injured worker to Anchorage for medical treatment.

“We had the Ever Living transit toward Dutch Harbor to get within range of the Dolphin helicopter crew and to lessen the flight time for the injured crew member,” said Chief Petty Officer Seth Caron, District 17 operational unit controller. “We hope he gets the necessary care needed and makes a full recovery.”