A fish processor cleaning machinery aboard the Alaska factory trawler Ocean Peace was seriously injured on Tuesday. Joemar Lontoc was airlifted from the vessel by a Coast Guard helicopter, and he has been transferred to Anchorage for emergency medical care. The accident happened 100 miles west of Adak Island.
Serious injury accidents involving fish processing equipment occur too frequently aboard Alaska Factory trawlers. Crewmen must be properly trained and supervised in safely operating such equipment. The Fishing Vessel Safety Act requires most fish processing equipment to be properly guarded to prevent hands and feet from getting into blades, augers, and shafts. Failure to properly guard fish processing equipment may render a vessel unseaworthy. Lock out tag out procedures should be followed by crewmen when the fish processing equipment is being cleaned and repaired. Crewmen injured as result of improperly guarded machinery, defective equipment, improper training, or negligence of a fellow crewman have claims under the Jones Act and the general maritime law.