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Boat on the sea
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Atlantico1200x600U.S. Coast Guard watchstanders received a call on September 16th from the F/V ATLANTICO reporting that a 40-year-old crew member had suffered a back injury.

The Duty Flight Surgeon was consulted regarding the nature of the injury, and a medevac was recommended. The District 17 command center ordered the launch of an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and aircrew. The injured fisherman was hoisted, transferred to Cold Bay, then transported to Anchorage to awaiting medical personnel.

“Good coordination between the Atlantico crew, command center personnel, and the Jayhawk aircrew attributed to our ability to successfully perform this medevac and get the injured fisherman to proper medical care,” said Lt.j.g. Lindsay Wheeler, a District 17 command center watchstander.

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Coast-Guard-Rescue2-300x218The most dangerous job in the world requires proper safety gear, proficient training, quick action during mishaps, and experienced emergency responders at the ready when the need arises. These essentials came together on Tuesday, September 8th to save the life of a fisherman when his 44-foot commercial fishing vessel ran aground then began breaking apart in the 10-foot surf near South Beach State Park, Oregon.

Watchstanders at U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Bend received a mayday call that the lone fisherman, trapped on the south jetty in Newport, was being forced to abandon ship. The 52-foot Motor Lifeboat Victory, a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat, and a ground crew were dispatched from Station Yaquina Bay.

Crew members from Station Yaquina Bay instructed the fisherman to use flares to signal his location. The flares were visible to the Motor Lifeboat as well as an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter that had been deployed. The helicopter was unfortunately forced to turn back due to hazardous weather and poor visibility.

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Survival_suits_USCG1200x700-300x175On August 11th, multiple U.S. Coast Guard units received distress calls stating that the F/V ARCTIC FOX II, a 66-foot commercial fishing boat, had begun taking on water. The vessel was located about 85 miles off Cape Flattery, Washington at the time of trouble.

The three crewmembers aboard were getting ready to abandon ship and reported that they were all wearing survival suits. Once on the scene, the U.S. Coast Guard aircrew immediately spotted a lifeboat. One survivor was aboard and hoisted into the helicopter. Tragically, the other two crewmembers did not survive. While the fishermen were all wearing survival suits, it was later reported that the suits were old, in poor repair, and that the seams were cracked. The suits that were meant to save lives, were not watertight.

This tragic accident highlights the need for all vessel owners, masters, and captains to test the functionality of immersion suits stored on their vessels. Under federal law, it is the duty of the person in charge of the vessel to make sure all lifesaving gear is properly maintained and inspected before each voyage. Follow these best practices for proper inspection and care.

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Coast-Guard-MH-60-Jayhawk-300x169A 22-year-old crewmember was medevaced on August 8th after experiencing medical complications due to pregnancy. The crewmember was working aboard the F/V NORTHERN JAEGER, a 308-foot factory trawler owned by American Seafoods.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was dispatched after District 17 Command Center personnel in Alaska received the call for assistance on Saturday morning.

The F/V NORTHERN JAEGER was located about 200 miles northeast of St. Paul, Alaska at the time of the call. U.S. Coast Guard personnel arrived at the vessel at approximately 2:45 p.m., and the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted and transported the crewmember to Cold Bay, Alaska. She was then transferred to a higher level of medical care.

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Coast-Guard-Hoisting2-300x158Watchstanders at U.S. Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay received a distress call from the F/V PIKY on August 4th after a crewmember sustained a serious eye injury and vision loss. The fisherman was reportedly reeling in a tuna when a line slipped, causing a swivel tackle to strike Nathanial Miller, age 24, in the face.

The distress call was relayed to Coast Guard Sector North Bend, Oregon, where a flight surgeon believed it crucial to transport the injured worker to a higher level of medical care as soon as possible.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River as well as an HC-27J Spartan medium-range surveillance aircrew from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento in McClellan, California, were deployed.

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Alaska1200x630-300x158North Pacific Seafoods workers have been awarded a $440,000 settlement after being held for quarantine without pay in a Los Angeles hotel. Stacey and Jacobsen, PLLC first reported the details of this case on July 7th.

Each of the 165 workers who were quarantined is most likely eligible to collect approximately $2,685. That amount will be paid after each worker signs a release to drop further legal action against North Pacific Seafoods. After the workers have been paid, the parties will seek a dismissal.

The workers, who primarily reside in Mexico and Southern California, were hired to work at the North Pacific Seafoods Red Salmon Cannery in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The lawsuit maintained that workers were forced to quarantine in Los Angeles after three members of the team tested positive for COVID-19. North Pacific Seafoods provided no compensation during the quarantine. The lawsuit alleged false imprisonment, nonpayment of wages, failure to pay minimum wages and overtime, negligence, and unlawful business practices.

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Poll-300x150The F/V AMERICAN TRIUMPH remains docked after Eighty-five crew members have tested positive for COVID-19. The factory trawler left Oregon headed for Alaska on June 27th carrying 119 workers. It was reported that two weeks after the ship departed, seven workers reported feeling ill and were tested for COVID-19 in Unalaska. Six of the seven tests came back positive.

The remaining crewmembers were tested last week, and 79 additional tests came back positive, bringing the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 aboard the F/V AMERICAN TRIUMPH to 85. The 285-foot vessel is part of a fleet of six fishing vessels owned by Seattle-based American Seafoods Group, LLC.

According to the American Seafoods Company website, crew members have been relocated to Anchorage to isolate and quarantine. The company has committed to providing quarantine facilities, daily meals, and accessible onsite medical care. They reported that they will use this time to sanitize the vessel. How or if the ill crewmembers will be compensated has not been reported. There are now 97 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the population of Unalaska, Alaska, a community of about 4,500 residents. The local health clinic reports only having 3 ventilators available.

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Kodiak_AK-300x225A fisherman was injured on Monday, July 20th while working aboard the F/V RUBICON. The U.S. Coast Guard command center in Anchorage, Alaska received a call at approximately 12:45 p.m. from the wife of the fishing vessel’s master, informing officials that a medevac was needed for an injured crew member. The vessel was located just north of Kodiak Island at the time of the incident.

An Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter stationed at the District 17 command center was launched, then landed on a nearby beach at about 1:42 p.m. The fisherman was transferred from the 42-foot F/V RUBICON to the awaiting helicopter crew via small boat. The injured crewmember was then medevaced to awaiting emergency medical personnel in Kodiak.

“This was a very quick case,” said Lt. Jared Carbajal, the aircraft commander on the case. “Good communications from the boat, excellent flexibility and the captain’s expert seamanship enabled a very quick pick-up and transfer of the injured fisherman to medical care.”

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Alaska-Beach1200x600-300x150It is with great sadness that we report the deaths of Cole Rutzer and Dylan Furford, two young men who grew up in a tight-knit community near Westport, Washington. They were doing what they loved, working hard, and bringing in Dungeness crab aboard the F/V PACIFIC DYNASTY.

Greg Rutzer, Cole Rutzer’s father, and Brent Gilbertson, a cousin, were also working on the vessel. According to reports, the crew had just dropped their crab pots. Rutzer and Furford loved adventures, and with the little downtime they had, took a Zodiac skiff and Cole’s dog to Tugidak Island, about ½ mile from where the F/V PACIFIC DYNASTY was anchored. They planned on doing some beachcombing on the remote island then return to the vessel in the late afternoon.

Scott McCann, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, said the men had provided a float plan to the captain, Greg Rutzer. They were to return to the vessel before dinner.

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Fishing_Vessel_RescueA 26-year-old man was medically evacuated from the F/V MCKENZIE ROSE after the crewmember sustained a head injury. The vessel was located about 100 miles west of Coos Bay when the injury occurred.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Bend received a marine radio call from the vessel’s captain reporting that a member of the crew needed medical attention.

Communication remained open between the F/V MCKENZIE ROSE and the U.S. Coast Guard Sector as the vessel turned toward shore to meet up with the Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin crew. The injured fisherman was hoisted aboard the MH-65 Dolphin then transported to the U.S. Coast Guard airbase. He was then transferred to emergency medical personnel.

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