Boat on the sea
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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.”

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Capt-Billy-Haver

Photo by Marc Piché courtesy of Shipspotter.com

One crewmember is dead, a second wounded, and a third has been arrested after a brutal attack aboard the F/V CAPT BILLY HAVER, an 82-foot fishing trawler based in Virginia.

27-year-old Franklin Freddy Meave Vazquez was arrested and charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted murder on Monday, September 24th. He will appear in federal court in Boston at a time to be determined.

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Underwater-Wreckage-1024x732A diver was medevaced after an accident that occurred about nine miles northeast of False Pass, Alaska on Thursday, September 13th. The diver was working on a wreckage project, when a piece of underwater debris broke loose and pinned him to the ocean floor at a depth of approximately 65 feet. After several minutes, the diver was able to free himself and make his way to the surface; however, it was reported that he sustained injures to the left side of his body and was bleeding from his nose.

The dive master aboard the vessel MAKUSHIN BAY called watchstanders at the 17th District command center in Juneau at about 1:50pm to report the accident, and the Coast Guard duty flight surgeon recommended the medevac. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew out of Air Station Kodiak was in Cold Bay on another transport, and was able to safely deliver their patient then travel to the injured diver. He was hoisted aboard, then transported to medical care in Cold Bay.

“The diver’s ability to free himself, coupled with our aircrew’s proximity to the accident today provided a favorable outcome,” said Lt. Stephen Nolan, command duty officer for the case. “The aircrew just so happened to be in Cold Bay on a separate, unrelated mission. As vast a place as Alaska is, being able to get to someone who needs help in time is always one of the biggest challenges our crews face. We were grateful to be able to do that today.”

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Smartphone-at-Sea-1024x683Communication while aboard vessels has been an issue for seafarers for as long as humans have been going to sea. We have gone from bells and foghorns to the first radio telegraph in 1895, to the innovative satellite communication products of today. Communicating with other vessels, with emergency crew, with friends and family on land, or with bounty hunters who retrieve and return lost gear (yes, that really is a thing; keep reading to learn more) has become paramount. We share information with other fishing boats and try to stay ahead of the weather. Technology has come a long way, and our phones are making things even safer for people who work at sea.

The Pew Research Center for Internet and Technology has been tracking U.S. mobile phone statistics since before 2004. What was once a gadget used only by contractors and millionaires, the cellphone is now in the hands of nearly 94% of all U.S. adults, and a smartphone is owned by more than 76% of adults.

Cellphone-Chart
Smartphones are virtually small computers that fit in your pocket. With cutting edge software and accessories, smartphones are empowering fishermen and solving what were once big problems. Even sales and marketing can be done at sea with a smartphone fitted with satellite capabilities.

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Colorado-River-NeedlesA Labor Day weekend river cruise turned deadly after two boats collided on Saturday evening. Authorities are still investigating the cause of Saturday’s head-on collision that sunk both vessels and left all 16 passengers in the water. It was reported that two boats were involved, one carrying 10 people and the other carrying 6 passengers. The incident happened just north of Lake Havasu, on a stretch of the Colorado River located between Needles, California and Topock, Arizona.

Good Samaritans arrived at the scene before emergency officials and pulled many of the victims from the water; but in the current, several passengers were swept downriver. According to Mohave County Sheriff Doug Shuster, none of the passengers were wearing life jackets. While life jackets are not required by law, they are strongly recommended by authorities.

According to Eric Sherwin, a spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Fire Department, emergency rescue personnel arrived approximately 45 minutes after the initial call for assistance. Nine people were transported by ambulance to area hospitals while two critically injured victims were airlifted by helicopter to a Las Vegas hospital.