Boat on the sea
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Kari_Marie-300x225A forward-deployed U.S. Coast Guard Air Station helicopter crew was called to medevac a crewmember on Monday after he suffered a compound fracture while aboard the F/V KARI MARIE. The fishing boat was located approximately 200 miles north of St. Paul, Alaska when the incident occurred.

Watchstanders at District 17 Command Center received notification from the F/V PACIFIC MARINER about the injury, as they were relaying communications on behalf of the F/V KARI MARIE crew. In an effort to provide additional communication coverage, an Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules aircrew was also diverted to assist with the incident.

The crewmember was reported to be in stable condition after he was transported to local emergency medical personnel in St. Paul.

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Dutch-Harbor-e1550617197701-300x186Five crewmembers were rescued on Friday by the Good Samaritan vessel KONA KAI after the F/V PACIFIC 1 sunk in the Bering Sea. Just before the Seattle based cod fishing boat went down, it was reported to have been listing heavily.

The U.S. Coast Guard watchstanders received notification from the F/V KONA KAI that the 58-foot F/V PACIFIC 1, located about 40 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, had begun taking on water. The KONA KAI lost communication with the Pacific 1, but their last known location was transmitted to officials.

Two Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews were deployed from their forward-operating location in Cold Bay, Alaska. They arrived in time to assist the KONA KAI in locating the inflatable life raft that held all 5 people. While Coast Guard personnel were able to locate the raft, an inflight issue forced them to set a data marker buoy then return to Cold Bay.

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USCGC_HickoryIt is with great sadness that we report the death of a U.S. Coast Guard officer after he was struck by a crane in Homer, Alaska.

Michael Kozloski, a 35-year-old Chief Warrant Officer from Mahopac, New York, was a crew member aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory. A 17-year veteran, he was working in the vessel buoy yard when a crane rolled over and struck him.

Emergency medical personnel from the Homer Volunteer Fire Department responded and performed CPR. Officer Kozloski was transported to South Peninsula Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

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cold-bay-alaskax1800-1-300x225The U.S. Coast Guard “forward deploys” assets to Cold Bay during the winter fishing season in an effort to shave hours off flight times when emergency personnel must respond to situations in the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands. Once again, this practice proves prudent.

On Tuesday, January 29th at approximately 11pm, the U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Command Center watchstanders received a call from Health Force Partners with a request for a medevac. A 35-year-old crewmember aboard the F/V Golden Alaska was suffering from severe leg pain and needed medical attention. The vessel was located approximately 40 miles north of the Cold Bay station. Watchstanders directed the launch of a U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew, forward-deployed to Cold Bay. The crewmember was hoisted then transported to the Cold Bay clinic. It was reported that he arrived in stable condition.

“Our forward operating locations are critical to mission success in Alaska,” said Lt. Jeff Mistrick, a Jayhawk pilot on the medevac. “Alaska has more than 47,300 miles of shoreline and encompasses more than 3.8 million square miles of land that we are responsible for covering. Had it not been for our close proximity to this man, we may not have been able to hoist him as quickly as we did.”

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Coast-Guard-RescueWhile Monday was the first day back to work for hundreds of thousands of workers around the country, it was just another day for the U.S. Coast Guard; they have been working without pay since the partial government shutdown began on December 22, 2018. Most service members received a check for back-pay on Monday, but the possibility of another shutdown on February 15th is making families nervous, keeping pop-up food pantries open, and has Brett Reistad, national commander of the American Legion, looking for ways to replenish the organization’s Temporary Assistance Fund, which has been severely depleted after over $1 million in grants of $500 to $1500 were distributed to needy Coast Guard families. In a statement, Reistad said, “I’ve been in the Legion 38 years, and I’ve not experienced an instance like this.” Approximately 1,500 grants have been distributed to 1,713 Coast Guard families since January 15th. Specifically, 3,170 children of Coast Guard workers were helped by these grants.

“We try to stay out of politics,” Reistad said, “but we have to recognize the possibility of this happening again. These are our brothers and sisters,” he said of Coast Guard members. “They were out there risking their lives, saving lives.” If Congress and the White House are unable to compromise, another government shutdown could ensue on February 15th.

Since the U.S. Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, they are one of the government agencies not paid during a shutdown but are still required to show up for work. Many politicians are working towards legislation that would ensure that Coast Guard workers get paid just as other branches of the military during a government shutdown.

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ShipHull12-300x150The Jones Act or Maritime Law requires that vessels moving goods between U.S. ports are owned and operated by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Vessels are also required to be built in the U.S. by companies owned and operated by U.S citizens or permanent residents. The Jones Act requires that the steel used in the construction of a vessel be domestic, and that no more than 1.5 percent of the vessels “steel weight” be foreign processed. So, what happens when a vessel exceeds the limit? This is exactly what happened when Dakota Creek Industries, a 44-year-old family owned shipbuilding company in Anacortes, Washington, self-reported that the F/V AMERICA’S FINEST had indeed exceeded that limit.

The Kirkland, Washington based fishing company, Fisherman’s Finest, contracted a Norwegian company to design a new 264-foot trawler for the company. The vessel design required a steel-bending process that is more common and less expensive when fabricated in Europe. Just under 10 percent of the steel for the vessel was formed in the Netherlands. The vessel carries a $75 million price tag.

“Fishermen are key drivers of Washington state’s growing economy. We need their boats out fishing, not bogged down by regulations meant for large vessels like oil tankers,” said Cantwell.

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Yaquina-Bay-Lighthouse-300x175The U.S. Coast Guard has announced that it will formally investigate the sinking of the F/V MARY B II, which capsized near Newport, Oregon along the Yaquina Bay bar on January 8th. Three men died as the result of the sinking of the 42-foot vessel. It was reported that prior to the accident, the crew called for a Coast Guard escort due to heavy weather and 14 to 16 f00t waves. Tragically, before the escort reached the vessel, it capsized.

Rear Admiral David Throop has authorized the investigation. He is the Commander of the Thirteenth Coast Guard District which is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Rear Admiral Throop is responsible for all Coast Guard operations throughout the Pacific Northwest including protection of life and property, enforcement of federal laws and treaties, preservation of living marine resources, and promotion of national security. The Thirteenth District is made up of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, and includes over 4,400 miles of coastline.

Commander Karen Denny, who has over 18 years of experience investigating marine casualties with the Marine Safety Unit Portland, will lead the investigation. Commander Denny will then issue a report which will detail collected evidence, conclusions, and safety recommendations that could help prevent future accidents of this kind.

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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.