Articles Posted in Alaska Juris

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Rscue-300x199The Fishing Company of Alaska (Renton, Washington) has sold its three remaining factory trawlers and catch quotas to Ocean Peace and O’Hara Corporation.

Mike Faris, CEO of Seattle-based Ocean Peace, confirmed that his company will purchase two of the trawlers and catch quotas. O’Hara Corporation Vice President Frank O’Hara Jr. said his company will purchase one trawler and half of the fishing quotas, giving the company a more diverse harvest that includes higher-priced species.

Purchase prices for vessels and quotas have not been disclosed.

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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.

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The U.S. Coast Guard began a two-week public Formal Marine Investigation today to determine the cause of the sinking of the 220-foot fishing vessel, ALASKA JURIS. The vessel sank off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands on July 26th.

Efforts were made to locate the sunken vessel by the Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and The Fishing Company of Alaska, but the vessel was never found. The ALASKA JURIS sank in approximately 5,400 feet of water, and its last known location was about 41 miles northeast of Segula Island.

The Seventeenth Coast Guard District commander will be holding the two weeks of hearings at the Henry Jackson Federal Building in Seattle. Testimony will be streamed live and can be seen at Livestream.

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Rscue-300x199The ALASKA JURIS, a fishing vessel owned by Fishing Company Of Alaska (FCA), started taking on water on July 26, 2016 while fishing off the Aleutian chain of islands. The captain sent out a mayday. The crew donned their survival suits, got into life rafts, and abandoned ship. No other vessel was in sight. After several hours floating in the open sea near Adak, good Samaritan vessels arrived at the scene to rescue the crew.

This is the same fishing company that owned and operated the ALASKA RANGER, a factory trawler that sank in March 2008. Five crew died in that sinking.

We understand FCA and its insurance company are now offering $20,000 to survivors of the ALASKA JURIS to settle any and all claims they may have as a result of the sinking ordeal. The offer comes with a written explanation. FCA and its insurance company compare the sinking of the RANGER to the sinking of the JURIS as justification as to why they are only offering $20,000 to settle.

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The Unified Command, made up of the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), and the Fishing Company of Alaska (FCA), have called off the search for the sunken vessel. The JURIS is presumed to have sank in approximately 5,400 feet of water in the Bering Sea.

“We have searched and have not been able to locate the fishing vessel ALASKA JURIS,” said federal on-scene coordinator Lt. Todd Bagetis. The Unified Command as well as various state and federal agencies have ensured that this extensive search prioritized the safety of response personnel, the public, and integrity of the environment.

For three days, searches for the vessel were conducted by air and sea with the help of F/V ALASKA ENDEAVOR, salvage tug RESOLVE PIONEER, and Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules. Diesel sheen believed to be from the ALASKA JURIS was found in the search area, though the source is unconfirmed.

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On the morning of Wednesday, July 27th, crewmembers aboard OCEAN PEACE and SEAFISHER were focused on the harvest of Atka mackerel. Some 55 miles away, another trawler vessel, the ALASKA JURIS, was taking on water.

Upon receiving this distress call, the two vessels halted fishing and processing to begin the 6-hour journey to rescue the JURIS crew. All 46 crewmembers once aboard the JURIS were safely transported to the Aleutian Island port of Adak by Thursday evening.

“They said we got to go, and we’re on it,” said Todd Loomis, an official with Ocean Peace Inc., which operates the two factory trawlers.

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At around 11:30am on Tuesday, July 26, Coast Guard 17th District watchstanders received an electronic position alert from fishing vessel ALASKA JURIS. The vessel had been traveling in the Bering Sea near Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain, 150 miles northwest of Adak when it began taking on water. Coast Guard contacted the crew directly, confirming that the 220-foot vessel was in distress, and all 46 crewmembers had begun donning survival suits and boarding the three life rafts.

The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast to surrounding vessels, and sent a Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane and two Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters to the scene. Vessels Spar Canis, Vienna Express, Seafisher, and Ocean Pease diverted to assist. Seas were calm at the time of rescue, though heavy fog presented poor visibility. ALASKA JURIS crewmembers boarded Good Samaritan vessels around 5:00pm, and began the 13-hour voyage to Adak, AK.

Lt. Joseph Schlosser of the U.S. Coast Guard reported to the Alaska Dispatch News that preliminary information suggests the sinking could be tied to mechanical problems in the ship’s engine room. Definitive cause remains under investigation. There are no reports of injuries.

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