Articles Posted in Crabbers

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Yaquina-Bay-Lighthouse-300x175The U.S. Coast Guard has announced that it will formally investigate the sinking of the F/V MARY B II, which capsized near Newport, Oregon along the Yaquina Bay bar on January 8th. Three men died as the result of the sinking of the 42-foot vessel. It was reported that prior to the accident, the crew called for a Coast Guard escort due to heavy weather and 14 to 16 f00t waves. Tragically, before the escort reached the vessel, it capsized.

Rear Admiral David Throop has authorized the investigation. He is the Commander of the Thirteenth Coast Guard District which is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Rear Admiral Throop is responsible for all Coast Guard operations throughout the Pacific Northwest including protection of life and property, enforcement of federal laws and treaties, preservation of living marine resources, and promotion of national security. The Thirteenth District is made up of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, and includes over 4,400 miles of coastline.

Commander Karen Denny, who has over 18 years of experience investigating marine casualties with the Marine Safety Unit Portland, will lead the investigation. Commander Denny will then issue a report which will detail collected evidence, conclusions, and safety recommendations that could help prevent future accidents of this kind.

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Mary-B-IIIt is with great sadness that we report the death of three crew members from the MARY B II. The vessel was returning from crabbing late in the evening on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. The U.S. Coast Guard reported that the 42-foot vessel overturned as it crossed Yaquina Bay Bar in Newport, Oregon, a difficult crossing well known in the fishing industry.

A week-long winter storm had battered the bar with reported waves on Tuesday of 14 to 16 feet. Before it capsized, the MARY B II had requested a Coast Guard escort as it crossed the bar. The 52-foot Motor Life Boat Victory was in the area when two crew members of the MARY B II were washed overboard and the vessel subsequently capsized.

An additional Coast Guard vessel was called to the scene, as well as a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter. James Lacey, 48, from New Jersey was extracted by helicopter and flown to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Joshua Porter, 50, of Toledo, Oregon, washed up on the beach and was treated by emergency medical services; he was taken to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital and pronounced dead.

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Coast-Guard-MH-60-Jayhawk-300x169Watchstanders received a call on Monday, August 6th from the 116-foot F/V PATRICIA LEE reporting that a crewmember had been struck in the head by a crab pot. The Coast Guard duty flight surgeon recommended a medevac. However, due to the distant location of the vessel, two Air Station Kodiak MH-60 aircrews, a Coast Guard corpsman and an HC-130 Hercules aircrew were required for the rescue. The vessel was located approximately 190 miles west of Dutch Harbor at the time of the injury.

The first Jayhawk aircrew traveled from Kodiak to Cold Bay; the second aircrew flew from Cold Bay to the injured crewmember aboard the F/V PATRICIA LEE. The Hercules aircrew provided transportation for the second Jayhawk aircrew and facilitated communications during the medevac.

After orchestrating a heroic rescue (which included flying over 1,200 miles over a period of 17 hours) the 27-year-old man was transferred to awaiting medical personnel in Dutch Harbor. He was reported to be in stable condition.

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https://www.maritimeinjurylawyersblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/155/2018/02/U.S.-Coast-Guard-Helicopter-300x163.jpgThe North Coast commercial crab season is off to an arduous start, as the U.S. Coast Guard oversaw two search-and-rescue missions this weekend. The search for one missing crabber who fell overboard has sadly been suspended.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on Sunday, February 4th, two crew members who were tending crab pots on the Chief Joseph fell overboard. The vessel was approximately eight miles south of the South Spit in Humboldt Bay when the accident occurred. The captain successfully pulled one fisherman back aboard but was unable to locate the other crewmember.

First on the scene was an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Humboldt Bay followed by a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Station Humboldt Bay. Approximately an hour later, a C-27 Spartan fixed-wing aircraft from Air Station Sacramento arrived, and the area was combed until the search was suspended at approximately 1:15 p.m.

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Crab_fishing_boatThe overall safety of the commercial fishing industry is becoming safer every year. Those are the findings in a report issued by NIOSH in July of 2017. However, experts agree that an area that needs improvement concerns outdated stability reports. The US Coast Guard requires all fishing and crabbing vessels to carry a stability report which has been prepared by a Naval Architect. Problems arise when these reports are out of date.

According to A Best Practices Guide to Vessel Stability published by the US Coast Guard, vessel stability is defined as “the ability of a fishing vessel to return to its upright position after being heeled over by any combination of wind, waves, or forces from fishing operations.” If a vessel is “unstable”, it does not have sufficient ability to counter these external forces, therefore it is susceptible to capsizing.

The two variables in the stability equation are buoyancy and gravity. Buoyancy is the force acting to push the vessel up in the water, making the vessel float. In stability analysis, the total buoyancy forces are distributed over the part of the hull below the water, and the buoyancy of a vessel is a fixed variable as it is based on the architecture of the vessel. Gravity is the force acting to pull the vessel down in the water. The total weight of the vessel includes all gear, fuel, catch, ice, bait, etc. These weights are distributed throughout the hull, and mathematically combined into a single point called the center of gravity. Because weight is constantly being added and subtracted from a vessel, gravity is not a fixed variable; it is constantly in flux.

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A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Research Vessel has just located the wreck of the missing F/V DESTINATION that sank in the Bering Sea this past February. The vessel and its six crew members were tragically lost in the capsize.

On the cold morning of Saturday, February 11, 2017, crew aboard the F/V DESTINATION was traveling to the fishing grounds and was just off St. George Island in the Pribilofs of the Bering Sea. Events that followed before the vessel ultimately sank are being investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The crew did not have time to send a May Day—only an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon signal was set off by F/V DESTINATION crew. This allowed immediate responders to reach the destination, but only buoys, a life ring and other debris were found at the site.

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Commercial Dungeness crab fishermen on the Washington and Oregon Coast earned $3.10/pound at the beginning of the season in December 2014. By Christmas they received $4.50/pound, and by the middle of February 2015, prices jumped to $9/pound. Why the nearly three times price increase?

One reason is this year’s harvest is down but demand is still high. According to Hugh Link, executive director for the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, last year Oregon fishermen caught 14 million pounds by the middle of February; this year they caught 7 million pounds. The Chinook Observer reported that this year Washington caught 6.2 million pounds by February 5. The quality of crabs has been the best in years, but there aren’t that many of them.

Crab is served more often at holiday parties and dinners during Christmas and New Year’s, so demand is higher. China’s New Year was February 19 and their crab demand was very high. Demand coupled with crab scarcity equals high payment to crab fishermen.

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A crab fisherman reportedly injured his abdomen while pulling in crab pots on the F/V IRENE H on January 13, 2015. Crew from the fishing vessel called the Coast Guard to report the injury and ask for medical assistance. The Kodiak Coast Guard Air Station then flew a Jayhawk helicopter crew to Shelikof Strait and the IRENE H.

Weather conditions were rough: reportedly 25 mph winds and 7-foot seas.

“The operation was challenging from the start,” said Lt. Greg Dahl, pilot of the Jayhawk. “The dynamic weather conditions made for a rough ride but once on scene, the captain and crew of the vessel were very cooperative which enabled us to smoothly execute a successful rescue.”

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Crew from the 120-foot fishing vessel TRAILBLAZER called the Alaska Coast Guard on Thursday, December 11, 2014 to report that a crew member’s hand had been crushed in a crab pot launcher and needed immediate medical care. The Coast Guard duty flight surgeon recommended a medevac, and a Kodiak Jayhawk helicopter crew flew to the vessel located approximately 75 miles north of Cold Bay. They safely hoisted the 23-year old man into the helicopter and flew to Anna Livingston Memorial Clinic in Cold Bay for further medical assistance.

“Having assets in forward operating locations like Cold Bay during the busy fishing seasons is beneficial to mariners in times of distress,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Francell Abbott, watchstander, Coast Guard 17th District (Alaska).

Weather on scene was reported as 17-mph winds, 10 miles visibility and 37 degrees temperature.

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Operation “Safe Crab” has been set in motion on the Washington and Oregon coasts in an attempt to limit further deaths in the commercial crab fishery. In November, the Coast Guard will be conducting dock-side examinations throughout the Northwest ports for the safety of the crab fleet. These inspections will be limited mostly to inspection of life rafts, epirbs, and survival suits.

The Washington and Oregon commercial crab fishery has a high incidence of deadly accidents. This may be the result of smaller boats operating in what can sometimes be severe weather conditions. However, the Coast Guard notes that most all casualties are preventable if good safety practices are followed. Remarkably, passage of safety regulations for commercial fishing vessels has been opposed by many fishermen due to the high cost of implementation.

Although some safety regulations have recently been passed, they have only slightly lowered commercial fishing fatalities. Many of the regulations do not apply to the Washington and Oregon commercial crab vessels because of their size, and the fact that most all of the vessels are designated as “uninspected.”