The NORTHERN BELLE crew issued a Mayday call to the Coast Guard at 5:30 p.m. yesterday indicating they were was in trouble and needed help. The crew dawned survival suits but were unable to get into the vessel’s life raft. The Coast Guard arrived on the scene at approximately 8:00 p.m. and pulled all four crewmen from the water. One crewman was pronounced dead upon arrival in Cordova.
The Northern Belle is a 75-foot fishing vessel reportedly owned by Triton Inc. The vessel is home ported in Seattle. The accident happened in the Gulf of Alaska near Prince William Sound. The identities of the surviving crewmen have not yet been released. The casualty will be investigated by the Coast Guard.
Few safety regulations are in place to protect fishing vessel crewmen. Most safety regulations governing small commercial fishing vessels relate to survival equipment rather than preventing accidents from happening. In cases involving injuries and deaths of crewmen on fishing vessels, compensation may be paid under the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act.
The Seattle maritime injury law firm of Beard Stacey & Jacobsen, LLP has extensive experience in handling maritime death and injury cases involving sinking of fishing vessels. The lawyers at Beard Stacey & Jacobsen, LLP handled the fishing vessel sinking cases of the ALEUTIAN ENTERPRISE, ARCTIC ROSE, ALASKA RANGER, KATMAI and many others.