Articles Posted in Coast Guard

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USCGC_HickoryIt is with great sadness that we report the death of a U.S. Coast Guard officer after he was struck by a crane in Homer, Alaska.

Michael Kozloski, a 35-year-old Chief Warrant Officer from Mahopac, New York, was a crew member aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory. A 17-year veteran, he was working in the vessel buoy yard when a crane rolled over and struck him.

Emergency medical personnel from the Homer Volunteer Fire Department responded and performed CPR. Officer Kozloski was transported to South Peninsula Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

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Coast-Guard-RescueWhile Monday was the first day back to work for hundreds of thousands of workers around the country, it was just another day for the U.S. Coast Guard; they have been working without pay since the partial government shutdown began on December 22, 2018. Most service members received a check for back-pay on Monday, but the possibility of another shutdown on February 15th is making families nervous, keeping pop-up food pantries open, and has Brett Reistad, national commander of the American Legion, looking for ways to replenish the organization’s Temporary Assistance Fund, which has been severely depleted after over $1 million in grants of $500 to $1500 were distributed to needy Coast Guard families. In a statement, Reistad said, “I’ve been in the Legion 38 years, and I’ve not experienced an instance like this.” Approximately 1,500 grants have been distributed to 1,713 Coast Guard families since January 15th. Specifically, 3,170 children of Coast Guard workers were helped by these grants.

“We try to stay out of politics,” Reistad said, “but we have to recognize the possibility of this happening again. These are our brothers and sisters,” he said of Coast Guard members. “They were out there risking their lives, saving lives.” If Congress and the White House are unable to compromise, another government shutdown could ensue on February 15th.

Since the U.S. Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, they are one of the government agencies not paid during a shutdown but are still required to show up for work. Many politicians are working towards legislation that would ensure that Coast Guard workers get paid just as other branches of the military during a government shutdown.

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Coast-Guard-Rescue1200-300x22542,000 active-duty U.S. Coast Guard members have missed their first paycheck due to the government shutdown. Coast Guard members are continuing to work without pay on essential duties “that provide for national security or that protect life and property during partial government shutdowns,” such as securing U.S. ports and coastlines, search-and-rescue missions, and environmental events.

Active-duty personnel who work in other branches of the military continue to receive pay as they are funded by the Department of Defense, which continues to receive funding during a partial government shutdown. However, the U.S. Coast Guard falls under Homeland Security, one of the nine departments affected by the shutdown. Others include the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior, the Department of State, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Justice. The Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the Smithsonian have all shut down as they are under the umbrella of one of the nine department closures.

On January 4th, a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress called the Pay Our Coast Guard Act. It would allow members of the U.S. Coast Guard as well as its civilian employees and contractors to be paid throughout the shutdown. The bill which is sponsored by Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, and has support from 29 Democrats and 10 Republicans. South Carolina Congressman Joe Cunningham cosponsored the bill.

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Nordic-Viking-Sinks-300x254The U.S. Coast Guard has taken the lead in the cleanup of over 700 gallons of marine diesel fuel and 50 gallons of gasoline that spilled after the sinking of the F/V NORDIC VIKING. The 71-foot vessel was in Seward Harbor, Alaska at the time of the incident. The cause has yet to be determined.

The Coast Guard will be initially using funds from the Oil Spill Liability and Trust Fund to pay for the cleanup, but the responsible party will be liable for expenses associated with containment, cleanup, and damages. Alaska Chadux, a non-profit organization founded in 1993 after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, has been contracted in the cleanup efforts, and Global Diving and Salvage has been contracted to salvage the 71-foot fishing vessel.

Alaska Chadux had to deploy a second containment boom and absorption pads around the sunken vessel after the first boon was pulled down as the vessel sunk further beneath the water. Global Diving and Salvage has also plugged all fuel vents to prevent any additional fuel leakage.

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Screenshot-321The massive earthquake that rocked Anchorage, Alaska, on Friday, November 30th caused widespread damage to roads, buildings, schools, and homes. Initially, a tsunami warning was issued after the quake, but it was revised and canceled after authorities assessed that there would be no giant wave.

The earth began shaking at approximately 8:29 a.m. about eight miles outside of Anchorage. The jolting quake lasted for about one minute and registered 7.0. Many residents reported that they heard the rumbling sound of the quake just before the shaking began. And everyone agreed, it could have been so much worse.

The few fires that started were extinguished quickly, no large buildings collapsed, and no deaths have been reported resulting from the quake. It is widely believed that updated building code requirements and retrofitting efforts created a safer environment for everyone. At a press conference, Governor Bill Walker stated, “Building codes mean something.”

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The-Bering-Sea-300x142A 56-year-old fisherman is missing after falling overboard on Friday, October 26th. The F/V JUDA LEE was approximately 7 miles off the coast of Nome, Alaska when the incident occurred.

Anthony Shelp, the vessel owner, was reportedly fishing with family members when he fell into the water. Crewmembers tried to pull him back aboard the vessel, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Alaska State Troopers were alerted, and the U.S. Coast Guard was called for assistance at approximately 10:45 a.m.

An Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was launched out of Kotzebue to search for Mr. Shelp. An urgent marine broadcast was also issued to alert all mariners in the area.

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Station-Valdez-Crew-e1532746970899-300x220The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an 18-year old crewmember on Thursday, July 26th after he suffered a severe hand injury aboard the F/V PACIFIC HARVESTER. The vessel was located in Prince William Sound, Alaska at the time of the incident.

The F/V PACIFIC HARVESTER master called watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center to request a medevac as the crewmember had suffered a hand injury and was showing signs of shock. After consulting with the duty flight surgeon, a medevac was recommended. A Valdez station boat crew was dispatched and directed to the fishing vessel.

An emergency trauma technician treated the injured 18-year-old while he was in transit, then delivered him to emergency medical personnel awaiting his arrival at the Valdez pier.

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Alex-HaleyThe fishing vessel Run Da was detained by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley on June 23rd after the vessel was suspected of illegal fishing activity in international waters 860 miles east of Hokkaido, Japan. A total of 80 tons of chum salmon and one ton of squid were found onboard.

The Alex Haley crew and People’s Republic of China Coast Guard officials conducted a joint international boarding of the Run Da after a U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak C-130 aircraft spotted the fishing vessel, which was suspected of violating the worldwide driftnet moratorium issued by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution.

After initial arrival on the scene, the U.S. Cost Guard and People’s Republic of China Coast Guard officials participated in a pre-boarding question and answer interview via VHF-FM radio. The results of this conversation confirmed fishing activity and the nationality of the vessel. The captain of the F/V Run Da admitted to fishing with driftnets up to 5.6 miles in length.

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Motor-LifeboatAn injured fisherman was medevaced to Grays Harbor in Westport on Monday, June 18th after sustaining a severe hand injury while working aboard F/V Myrna Lynn.

Watchstanders at Sector Columbia River received a call at 8:15a.m. that a 50-year-old fisherman had sustained a hand injury and was in immediate need of medical assistance. The fishing vessel was located approximately 13 miles west of Grays Harbor when the call came in.

The Coast Guard responded with a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew, and the injured worker was transported to Station Grays Harbor in Westport. Due to the nature of the injury, he was then transported to Grays Harbor Community Hospital for specialized emergency medical care. The worker was reported to be suffering from a severe hand injury and shock.

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Rope_Tiedown-1024x683Commercial fishing vessels must comply with safety regulations established by federal and maritime law. When violations are found during a boarding inspection, a vessel may be issued a violation and possibly a fine. When violations are particularly dangerous to the crew or the environment, they fall into a different category known as “especially hazardous conditions”.  After finding several safety violations and environmental infringements, the U.S. Coast Guard terminated the voyage of the F/V Nushagak Spirit sighting “especially hazardous conditions”.

The vessel was located approximately three miles east of Umnak Island when the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, a 378-foot high endurance cutter based in Seattle, Washington, conducted the onboard inspection. They found one fishing violation, 14 safety violations, as well as the improper discharge of bilge water. The vessel master admitted to pumping bilge water over the side of the vessel, which is in direct violation of the Clean Water Act. The U.S. Coast Guard sent this vessel back to port. Federal law deemed this vessel “unseaworthy”.

“We perform at-sea safety inspections to ensure mariners are operating in compliance with commercial fishing vessel safety and environmental regulations,” said Capt. John Hollingsworth, 17th District incident management branch chief. “These regulations help ensure the safety of life at sea and protect our marine environment.”