Articles Posted in Alaska

Published on:

NEWDAWNMED-1A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew medevaced a 58-year-old male after he suffered an ankle injury while aboard the F/V NEW DAWN. The 50-foot commercial vessel was near Shelikof Strait when the incident occurred on Sunday, June 18th.

“Due to the crewman’s possible need for an orthopedic surgeon, we determined the best course of action was to get him off the New Dawn and place him aboard the Jayhawk helicopter for transfer to advanced medical care” said Mr. Cory Cichoracki, watchstander at Sector Anchorage command center. “Despite the weather, the aircrew alongside the crew of the New Dawn, was able to complete a successful hoist.”

Watchstanders requested the Jayhawk launch after the duty flight surgeon recommended medevac of the injured crewmember. You can watch the heroic video here.

Published on:

Time_BanditA crabber working in the Alaska Bering Sea aboard the TIME BANDIT (the vessel made famous by the popular Discovery Channel reality series “Deadliest Catch”), was awarded $1.35 million by a Seattle jury for injuries sustained in a fireworks related explosion aboard the vessel.

According to court documents, David Zielinski suffered a shattered right hand and forearm when the explosive he was attempting to launch detonated prematurely. According to his attorney, Zielinski had been instructed by his employer to launch the custom-made explosive. Following the incident, Zielinski had to be airlifted from the ship to a medical clinic in Alaska, then flown to Seattle for surgery on his hand and arm. Since the accident, he has undergone several reconstructive surgeries, however the injury has put an end to his career as a commercial crabber.

Johnathan Hillstrand, one of the owners of the TIME BANDIT, admitted that he had suggested Zielinski claim the injuries were sustained while crabbing rather than from an explosive device. In a declaration, Johnathan Hillstrand stated that his brother Andy Hillstrand talked him out of the tactic.

Published on:

Coast_Guard_Sentinel_CutterAstoria is set to receive two new lifesaving Sentinel-class cutters. One has already been deployed in Ketchikan, the USCGC John McCormick. These are part of a Coast Guard plan to commission 58 new Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters, replacing aging Island-class cutters.

The new cutters are 154 ft. long (compared to the 110 ft. Island-class) and feature technology updates, such as weapons systems upgrades, small boat stern launch capabilities (to achieve safer and more efficient operations), and a five knot speed increase over the Island-class vessel. Command, control, communications, and intelligence systems have been updated with state of the art technology. The Sentinel-class cutter can reach speeds in excess of 28 knots, and the new small boats can reach speeds of 40 knots.

The new Sentinel-class vessels are to be named after enlisted Coast Guard servicemen and women who distinguished themselves in the line of duty. The first deployed cutter of its class, the USCGC Bernard C. Webber, is named for the Coxswain of the 36-foot wooden Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat CG 36500, which pulled one of the most daring rescues in Coast Guard history. Webber and his crew faced 60-foot seas to rescue 32 crewmen from the SS Pendleton in February, 1952.

Published on:

Continental-Shelf-300x166The U.S. Coast Guard responded to the sinking of an out-of-service tugboat on Wednesday April 19th at approximately 10:15 p.m. The 81-foot tug, POWHATAN, had been docked at the Samson Tug and Barge pier.

The vessel initially sunk to a depth of about 15 meters but then shifted. The downward sloping shelf carried the sunken vessel about 330 meters out in Starrigavan Bay  to its current depth of approximately 60 meters (approximately 7 miles north of Sitka). The tug had been out of service for more than 10 years.

According to a situation report issued by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the Powhatan was carrying 325 gallons of lube oil, 12 gallons of diesel, and possible sludge in the bottom of the main tanks.

Published on:

Spartan151-300x176Furie Operating Alaska, LLC (“Furie”) has agreed to pay a $10 million civil penalty handed down by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency for violation of the Jones Act. The settlement is the largest Jones Act penalty in the history of the Act. The company focuses on the exploration and production of natural gas and oil in the Cook Inlet region of Alaska.

Attorney Bryan Schroder, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Alaska, announced that the company was assessed the penalty after it was found to have transported the Spartan 151 jack-up drill rig to Alaska from the Gulf of Mexico using a vessel sailing under a foreign flag.

Under the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act, cargo moved from one U.S port to another U.S port must be transported by a vessel that is U.S. built, U.S. owned and U.S. crewed. Violation of this law may result in the assessment of a civil penalty equal to the value of the merchandise transported. In special circumstances, a waiver may be requested from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. A waiver may be granted if there is no U.S. vessel available or it is believed to be in the best interest of national defense.

Published on:

Samson_Mariner-300x225The Coast Guard, working in partnership with several other agencies, continues to respond to the tugboat SAMSON MARINER that ran aground near Rosa Reef in north Tongass Narrows, Alaska. Approximately 1,100 gallons of fuel was spilled before the breach could be patched by Alaska Commercial Divers.

The official report by the Coast Guard indicates that environmental pollution from the breach might have been much higher, as the SAMSON MARINER was carrying 30,000 gallons of fuel on board while the barge was carrying 40,000 gallons of diesel. Thankfully, the barge did not sustain any damage. Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization (SEAPRO) initiated immediate cleansing of the water around the Rosa Reef using a fuel containment and recovery boom as well as absorbent pads.

“We are working closely with our partner agencies to recover as much of the spilled product as possible,” said Capt. Shannan Greene, Coast Guard Sector Juneau commander. “When spilled, this type of diesel spreads quickly into thin films forming patches of rainbow and silver sheens. We expect the sheen to break up within the next 12 to 24 hours, with scattered sheens potentially still visible under the low wind conditions forecast for tomorrow. Although not expected to impact sensitive areas or wildlife, we routinely collaborate with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to mitigate these risks.”

Published on:

FV-Destination-1-2It is with great sadness that we report the suspension of the search for the six missing crew members of the F/V DESTINATION. The vessel is believed to have sunk on Saturday, February 11th in the Bering Sea. Weather at the time was reported as 30-mph winds with five to eight-foot seas and snowing. The air temperature was 21 degrees and sea temperature was 3o degrees.

The Coast Guard reported that the search covered more than 5,730 square nautical miles, and included 21 coordinated searches with a total of 69 aircraft and surface hours.

Watchstanders from the 17th District reported that an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert was received from the F/V DESTINATION early Saturday morning, and that Kodiak aircrews were deployed to initiate the search.

Published on:

FV-Destination-1-2-300x169The search in the Bering Sea continues for the 98’ F/V DESTINATION and six crewmembers, whose emergency beacon broadcast a signal at 7:15 am, February 11 from two miles northwest of St. George, Alaska. The Coast Guard’s Hercules airplane crew arrived at 10:15 am to begin searching, and two helicopters crews are also assisting. Two Good Samaritan fishing vessels, SILVER SPRAY AND BERING ROSE, also assisted with the search.

The emergency beacon, or electronic position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), was found in a debris field with buoys, a life ring from the DESTINATION, tarps, and an oil sheen.

Residents in St. George are patrolling the shoreline for any signs of the crew or boat. St. George is a small Pribilof Island with a population of approximately 100.

Published on:

Rscue-300x199Two weeks of Coast Guard hearings and testimonies this past month are slowly revealing the mystery behind the July 26th sinking of the Alaska JURIS that forced 46 crewmembers to abandon ship in the Bering Sea. Chief Engineer aboard the JURIS, Eddie Hernandez, was a key witness for Coast Guard attempts to reveal operations of the vessel’s owner, Fishing Company of Alaska. The company teams with a Japanese fish buyer, Anyo Fisheries, and continues to operate three factory trawlers whose crews process and freeze catch.

This is not the first time that Fishing Company of Alaska has been at the center of a major Coast Guard inquiry. In fact, many issues that surfaced during the Alaska JURIS hearings paralleled the 2008 sinking of FCA’s Alaska Ranger. In both instances, there were reported gaps in a Coast Guard inspection program, chronic vessel maintenance issues, and safety conflicts between a U.S. crew and Japanese workers.

Although the report on the Alaska JURIS is not expected for months, the hearings offered a look at conditions and operations aboard the vessel. Crewmember Carl Lee Jones revealed in testimony problems surrounding rusting pipes, run down crew quarters, and Japanese crew members who refused to participate in safety drills.

Published on:

exitoThe Coast Guard cancelled the search for the two missing crewmembers of the EXITO after searching for more than 40 hours. The EXITO sank 14 miles out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, north of Unalaska Bay, on Tuesday night, December 6. Three crewmembers who abandoned ship were rescued by the Good Samaritan ship AFOGNAK STRAIT. Two other people onboard, names currently withheld, have not been found.

The Coast Guard Cutter ALEX HALEY, a Jayhawk helicopter crew, and three Good Samaritan ships searched for the remaining two people Wednesday and Thursday. “The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one to make and is done with great care and deliberation after thoroughly evaluating our search efforts and the situation,” said Capt. Laura Dickey, chief of staff of the 17th Coast Guard District. “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing men.”

The cause of the sinking is still under investigation. This firm’s thoughts and prayers are also with the family and friends of the two missing men.