Boat on the sea
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Astoria-300x196Those who work at sea know the importance of the U.S. Coast Guard as first responders. This work is so vital to the maritime trades that they have designated two new cities as “Coast Guard Cities”, Cordova, Alaska and Westport, Washington. This program was created in 1998 by the United States Congress to identify and distinguish those cities that supported Coast Guard personnel. The first city to be recognized was Grand Haven, Michigan.

What is a “Coast Guard City”?

Currently, there are 28 cities in the U.S designated as Coast Guard Cities and Communities. This distinction is given to cities where service members and their families are highly supported by citizens. Cities apply for Coast Guard City status and are selected by the Standing Board. Cities that are granted status are eligible to remain part of this program for 5 years, at which time they may reapply for recertification. Current cities and criteria are available at Coast Guard Cities.

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Cape_Cod-300x157It is with great sadness that we report that the U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for three missing fishermen near Massachusetts.

An Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert from F/V LEONARDO was received by the U.S. Coast Guard District One command center on Sunday at 3:18 P.M. Personnel from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to investigate.

The F/V LEONARDO was carrying four crew members when it capsized and sank approximately 24 nautical miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard. Coast Guard crewmembers were able to rescue one of the four fishermen, Ernesto Santos, from a lifeboat.

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Arctic_Storm_RescueA fisherman working aboard the F/V ARCTIC STORM suffered a severe hand injury on Monday, November 18th.

The call reporting the injury came to watchstanders at the U.S Coast Guard Sector North Bend at 3:42 p.m. Monday, November 18th. The vessel was located about 34 miles west of Newport, Oregon at the time of the incident. As further communication took place between the vessel and Coast Guard personnel, it was determined that the best approach was to medevac the injured worker as soon as possible.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Facility Newport arrived at the F/V ARCTIC STORM at 7:36 a.m on Tuesday, November 19th. The 21-year-old male was hoisted and transported to awaiting medical personnel at Samaritan Pacific Community Hospital in Newport, Oregon for treatment. Weather conditions at the time of the rescue were reported as 10 to 13-foot seas and 25-mph winds.

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Boot-e1573002489495-668x1024Processing fish at sea has numerous benefits. At-sea-processing offers consumers the freshest product, reduces waste due to spoilage, and minimizes transportation fuel costs. But what happens to the waste products such as fish heads, fins and internal fish organs? They cannot simply be thrown overboard as they are considered “garbage”. The IMO has set up rules and regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from vessels and is covered under the Annex V of MARPOL.

MARPOL food waste disposal regulations require grinding seafood waste remains into particles ½” or smaller before they can be disposed of in Alaskan waters. This means that fish processing vessels must be outfitted with industrial grinders that can handle these byproducts. In addition, the ground seafood waste can only be discharged when the vessel is 3 nautical miles or more from land or 12 nautical miles from land if the vessel is in a location deemed “special”.

But these are not just any grinders. These heavy-duty industrial grinders, such as the Muffin Monster industrial seafood waste processor, must be able to grind rocks that have been ingested by sea creatures and stainless steel fishhooks that may still be in their mouths. It isn’t unusual for a halibut head to weigh more than 35 pounds, and these industrial grinders are known to macerate it in less than 20 seconds.

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Alaska-Iceberg1200x600-300x150Vessel stability refers to the ability of a vessel to return to its upright position after being heeled over by wind, waves, or other forces. If a vessel is not stable, it is susceptible to capsizing. Each vessel is unique and therefore needs its own stability report prepared by a qualified naval architect.

Vessel stability was in the news again after the National Transportation Safety Board released its findings regarding the sinking of F/V PACIFIC KNIGHT, the vessel that capsized in Bristol Bay on July 25th, 2018. There were several contributing factors, but they all led back to stability. An overloaded vessel and an inadequate assessment of the vessel’s stability was cited as the cause of this devastating accident that took the life of a 59-year-old fisherman.

Vessel stability is complex and must be calculated by a professional. It is recommended that new stability reports be completed every 10 years or after any and all changes to equipment or modifications are made to a vessel. Stability is not a constant condition; it undergoes continuous changes during each voyage and through the life of a vessel.

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Vessel-MarkingsIt is estimated that IUU (Illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing vessels harvest more than $23.5 billion worth of seafood from the world’s oceans each year. That translates roughly into 26 million tons of seafood and reveals that one in every five wild-caught fish is harvested unlawfully. Over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, and much of that space is unregulated. This makes it difficult for countries to enforce maritime laws, robs law-abiding fishermen of their livelihood, and threatens the delicate balance of sustainable fishing. This is a growing issue, but many countries are coming together to combat these fishing practices by adopting international vessel identification standards.

Properly marking fishing vessels with consistent identification across all countries is an important step to keeping our oceans sustainable. Properly marked vessels allow for accurate identification, monitoring for compliance of applicable rules and regulations, authorized vessel registration, as well as promoting communication and safety at sea.

Fishing vessels should be marked such that they can easily be identified in accordance with international standards. When standardized vessel markings are used, a vessel can be properly identified all around the globe. Proper markings streamline and standardize the process of retrieving information and authorization of a given vessel. Appropriate fishing vessel identification that is linked to an international registry, is an appropriate step towards international management and conservation of our oceans.

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KingCrab-300x158When we consider autumnal foods and beverages, we often think about Pumpkin Spice lattes, and who doesn’t love a tiny Halloween Snickers bar?  But there is another type of food we should all be celebrating: Seafood! October is National Seafood Month, which means paying homage to one of our nation’s oldest industries. Here are seven ways you can participate:

Eat or serve seafood at least twice weekly. Seafood is a great source of healthy lean protein, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and proven to support heart and brain health.

Partake in a local seafood festival. Communities across the nation celebrate and support the hard-working men and women who put this delicious staple on our tables.

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Coos-Bay-Fearless-300x168Two people were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday, September 22nd after the 54-foot fishing vessel they were navigating became disabled after striking a submerged object. The F/V FEARLESS II subsequently drifted into the rocks near the Coos River entrance. Watchstanders at Sector North Bend received the distress call over VHF-FM radio channel 16 at approximately 12:52am.

The crewmembers climbed onto the rocks after being forced to abandon ship. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew and a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew were dispatched from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Coos Bay and hoisted the two people from the jetty. They were transported to the air station and awaiting emergency medical personnel. One crewmember was uninjured while the other sustained abrasions and lacerations during the incident.

Salvage and debris cleanup from the vessel wreckage will be ongoing and challenging due to the precarious position of the F/V FEARLESS II among the rocks. The vessel belonged to the late Josh Porter, who lost his life along with two other crewmembers last January in the devastating F/V MARY B II accident off Newport. The F/V FEARLESS II was reportedly being brought back to Oregon to be sold.

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Miss-Emma-300x200The U.S. Coast Guard rescued six fishermen and one NOAA fisheries observer on Tuesday, September 17th after the F/V MISS EMMA caught fire approximately 8 miles south of Ko’Olina, Hawaii.

A VHF mayday call was received at about 4:29 p.m. from the vessel crew, who were aggressively fighting the fire. Sector Honolulu sent out an alert to other vessels in the area and directed the launch of a response boat, the cutter JOSEPH GERCZAK, an HC-130 Hercules SAR airplane, and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

The seven people aboard the F/V Miss Emma were forced to abandon ship via a liferaft. The U.S. Coast Guard was able to rescue everyone within half an hour of receiving the mayday call. The crewmembers and the NOAA fisheries observer were taken to Pier 38 in Honolulu where they were met by first responders, medical personnel, and officials from Customs and Border Protection. No injuries were reported.

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Golden-Ray-Rescue-300x225It is with great pleasure that we report the safe rescue of the final four crew members who were trapped in a cargo ship after it capsized near Cornel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick, GA.

At about 2 a.m. on September 8th, Coast Guard Sector Charleston watchstanders were notified that the M/V GOLDEN RAY, a 656-foot cargo ship, had capsized in the St. Simons Sound. An urgent marine information broadcast was issued, and multiple U.S. Coast Guard assets were launched to assist including:

• Two Coast Guard Station Brunswick Response Boat crews