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Articles Posted in Maritime News & Law

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Newport_Rescue_USCG-300x199The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an injured fisherman on Monday, July 19th near Newport, Oregon. The operator of a 40-foot commercial fishing vessel called watchstanders at the U. S. Coast Guard Sector North Bend command center at approximately 1:15p.m. to request assistance after a 70-year old fisherman lost consciousness.

The fishing vessel was located approximately 5 miles west of Newport, Oregon at the time of the call. The Sector North Bend rescue crew was conducting training exercises in the area and was able to reach the scene of the incident by 1:45 p.m. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew hoisted the injured fisherman. He was then taken to the U.S. Coast Guard Air Facility in Newport, Oregon, transferred to awaiting emergency medical service personnel, then taken to a local hospital for a higher level of care. The injured fisherman’s condition is currently unknown.

Injuries that involve loss of consciousness can be serious. The attorneys at Stacey and Jacobsen, PLLC are some of the most experienced in the nation at handling maritime injury accidents. They have the compassion, commitment, skill, and knowledge to recover fair compensation for crewmembers injured at sea. If you have been injured at sea and need assistance with your claim, all (877) 956-4337 for a free case consultation.

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Coast-Guard-Hoisting2-300x158Watchstanders at U.S. Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay received a distress call from the F/V PIKY on August 4th after a crewmember sustained a serious eye injury and vision loss. The fisherman was reportedly reeling in a tuna when a line slipped, causing a swivel tackle to strike Nathanial Miller, age 24, in the face.

The distress call was relayed to Coast Guard Sector North Bend, Oregon, where a flight surgeon believed it crucial to transport the injured worker to a higher level of medical care as soon as possible.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River as well as an HC-27J Spartan medium-range surveillance aircrew from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento in McClellan, California, were deployed.

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Poll-300x150The F/V AMERICAN TRIUMPH remains docked after Eighty-five crew members have tested positive for COVID-19. The factory trawler left Oregon headed for Alaska on June 27th carrying 119 workers. It was reported that two weeks after the ship departed, seven workers reported feeling ill and were tested for COVID-19 in Unalaska. Six of the seven tests came back positive.

The remaining crewmembers were tested last week, and 79 additional tests came back positive, bringing the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 aboard the F/V AMERICAN TRIUMPH to 85. The 285-foot vessel is part of a fleet of six fishing vessels owned by Seattle-based American Seafoods Group, LLC.

According to the American Seafoods Company website, crew members have been relocated to Anchorage to isolate and quarantine. The company has committed to providing quarantine facilities, daily meals, and accessible onsite medical care. They reported that they will use this time to sanitize the vessel. How or if the ill crewmembers will be compensated has not been reported. There are now 97 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the population of Unalaska, Alaska, a community of about 4,500 residents. The local health clinic reports only having 3 ventilators available.

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Bristol-Bay-Dockside-Exams-300x214Commercial fishing continues to be among the most hazardous jobs in the U.S. but there are many ways vessel owners and crew members can mitigate risk. In an effort to prepare for the 2019 Bristol Bay commercial salmon season, the U.S. Coast Guard is offering free dockside examinations for all commercial fishing vessels. Locations and dates are as follows:

King Salmon: June 6-21

Dillingham: June 10-20

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Tillamook-Bay-1024x676A 55-year-old captain was medevaced by the U.S. Coast Guard after he reportedly suffered a heart attack while working aboard the F/V EMERALD SEAS. The vessel was located approximately 20 miles west of Tillamook Bay, Oregon when the incident occurred.

Watchstanders at Sector Columbia River Command Center in Warrenton received the distress call from the vessel, then dispatched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Astoria. A 47-foot motor lifeboat was also dispatched from Station Tillamook Bay in Garibaldi.

The vessel captain reported that he had suffered a heart attack in the past, and was therefore aware of the symptoms, and was able to self-administer Nitrol in response. The captain was transferred to the motor lifeboat before being hoisted by the helicopter to make for a smoother transition. He was then flown to emergency responders at the Tillamook Airport.

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AquacultureThis month a new bill called the Keep Fin Fish Free Act (H.R. 2467) was introduced in response to the growing concerns regarding aquaculture operations. Alaska Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced legislation that would stop officials from the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Commerce from authorizing commercial finfish aquaculture operations in the Federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) unless specifically authorized by Congress. This legislation has many supporters across environmental and anti-fish farming organizations including Healthy Gulf, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Friends of the Earth, and NOAA.

The concerns raised regarding these facilities involve pollution spread by untreated wastewater, the spread of pests and diseases to native species, the introduction of even more antibiotics into our waters, and spills like the incident that occurred in August 2017 that resulted in more than 260,000 non-native Atlantic salmon being released into Puget Sound. However, one of the greatest concerns among aquaculture critics is the need to harvest wild fish in order to produce the feed necessary to raise open net pen Atlantic salmon.

“The seafood industry is critical to Alaska’s economy, and we must be doing all we can to protect the health and integrity of our state’s wild fish stock,” said Congressman Don Young. “If not properly managed, industrial aquaculture operations threaten Alaska’s unique ecosystem with non-native and genetically modified fish species. My legislation takes needed steps to prevent the unchecked spread of aquaculture operations by reigning in the federal bureaucracy, and empowering Congress to determine where new aquaculture projects should be conducted. It’s up to us to ensure that our oceans are healthy and pristine, and I urge my friends on both sides of the aisle to join me in this important effort.”

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HandXRayA 22-year-old crewmember who was working aboard the 254-foot F/V PHOENIX was evacuated near La Push, Washington on Tuesday after he sustained a hand injury.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received the emergency call at approximately 11:28. A boater in the area made the call on behalf of the F/V PHOENIX and reported that the vessel was located about 25 miles west of the Coast Guard Station Quillayute River.

Initially, the Coast Guard Cutter Cuttyhunk and boat crew from Station Quillayute River responded to the call. However, due to rough seas, they were unable to transfer the injured worker aboard the vessel. Winds of 12-knots per mile and 11-foot waves were reported.

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1200px-DHC-3-Otter-300x141Six people are confirmed dead after two floatplanes collided near Ketchikan, Alaska. Originally, 2 people were missing, but the U.S. Coast Guard and Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad located the remaining two near the crash site of the Beaver floatplane.  They were deceased.

“We have been in regular contact with the family members throughout our search efforts,” said Capt. Stephen White, Sector Juneau commander. “This is not the outcome we hoped for and extend our deepest sympathies during this very difficult time.”

Ten people were taken to area hospitals and four with more serious injuries were flown to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.

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Brain_ScanIf you are a maritime worker, you already know that work at sea is dangerous. Jones Act or maritime law is in place to give rights to workers as well as an extra layer of protection. Know your rights, and if an accident does occur, we recommend that you follow these guidelines:

1. Report the Accident – It is imperative that you let your supervisor or captain know immediately that you have been injured. Jones Act or Maritime Law requires the injured party to report any work-related injury within seven (7) days, but don’t wait that long. The insurance company may assume that if you didn’t report the accident right away, it wasn’t very serious, so don’t wait. If you get hurt while working and you believe that your injuries need medical attention or have even the slightest chance of causing you to miss work, report it right away.

2. Seek Medical Attention – The law requires your employer to see that you receive medical treatment for your injuries. If you are at sea and your injuries are serious, the ship should have the Coast Guard medevac you to a hospital. If you are far out at sea or in international waters, a Coast Guard helicopter may be able to pick you up as soon as you are within range of the United States. The ship has the ability to consult with a physician by phone or radio if your condition is serious. And, if you are in a foreign country, your employer must get you proper medical treatment and get you back home at their expense. Your employer must pay for all medical attention that you need if you are injured or become ill while in the service of the vessel.

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Kennicott_Alaska_Ferry_Front_View_2048px-300x225In November of 2012, Shannon Adamson suffered life-threatening injuries when the passenger gangway she was standing on collapsed. She fell 18-feet and suffered a shattered pelvis and sacrum, fractures in her lower back, loss of sensation in her right leg, a broken ankle, wrist and ribs, two punctured lungs, a lacerated liver, and a traumatic brain injury. Adamson required extensive surgery after this horrific fall and long painful sessions with a physical therapist just to learn how to walk again.

Court documents revealed that the Port of Bellingham was aware of a defect in the passenger gangway due to a similar accident that occurred in 2008. Engineering safety experts reported that the faulty system could have been resolved, but port authorities failed to install the recommended safety “limit switch”. The device would have cost the port less than $1000.

In the 2016 federal court case, the jury found the Port of Bellingham negligent, and not Adamson or the State of Alaska. Adamson was an employee of the Alaska Marine Highway System, but the court ruled that the defective passenger gangway was owned by the port. On Thursday, April 11th, 2019 the Port of Bellingham lost an appeal when the Washington State Supreme Court agreed with the previous ruling: Commercial landowners are liable for injuries that occur on the property they are responsible for maintaining, even if a tenant has priority to use the property, concluding that the Port of Bellingham must pay a jury’s $16 million verdict to the injured ferry worker.

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