Articles Posted in Maritime News

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SS-SavannahOn May 22nd we observe National Maritime Day, a holiday that recognizes and honors one of our country’s most important industries. Since it’s very beginnings, our country has identified itself as a seafaring nation. Our economy, commerce, and security depend on those who work at sea. On this day, we honor this history and the men and women who work in the maritime industries and trades.

The date was originally chosen as it was the anniversary of the day the American steamship Savannah set sail for the first ever transoceanic journey in a ship powered by steam. On May 22nd, 1819 the vessel headed for England on the first ever journey of this kind, in a ship powered by steam (it was actually a hybrid vessel, and so had a little help from the sails). The vessel arrived in England 29 days after leaving the U.S.

Congress officially established the holiday on May 20, 1933, but after WWII the annual celebration took on the flavor of a day of remembrance, as it was the Merchant Marines who had transported supplies and troops to war zones around the world. More than 250,000 Americans served in the Merchant Marines during WWII, and 6,700 were killed during duty. Hundreds were captured and detained as POWs, and over 800 U.S. merchant vessels sank or were damaged in the war zones they entered.

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Ann-Kathleen-300x164Crew members were forced to abandon ship when the F/V ANN KATHLEEN caught fire on Thursday, May 2nd just off the coast of Bandon, Oregon. Good Samaritan F/V LYNOMA rescued the fishermen from their life raft, then transferred them to a U.S. Coast Guard vessel after it arrived on the scene. No one was reported to have suffered injuries in the accident.

On Thursday afternoon at low tide, the 64-foot wood and fiberglass fishing vessel washed ashore just north of Floras Lake. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department reported that the vessel was still burning when it ran aground. Bandon Fire Chief Lanny Boston said the vessel was carrying approximately 2,000 gallons of diesel, which fueled the fire. By Friday, the fire had been successfully extinguished. Officials are investigating the cause of the fire.

Members of the local fire department, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality all evaluated the site for toxic materials. They are creating a response plan to safeguard the beach and a nearby shorebird nesting area. The area in which the vessel burned is a designated recovery area for the threatened western snowy plover. Officials have contacted the vessel’s owner and insurance company.

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Coast-Guard-Cutter-Healy-1800-300x200The U.S. Coast Guard recently released the new Arctic Strategic Outlook with a focus on leadership and innovation in the changing landscape of our nation. At a symposium in Seattle, Washington, the area commander discussed the new document and the role that the U.S. Coast Guard must take in the future. Keynote speaker Vice Adm. Linda Fagan said, “The tyranny of distance and the harsh Arctic climate pose significant challenges to agencies charged with providing maritime safety and security to all Americans, including the hundreds of villages and thousands of seasonal workers in the U.S. Arctic.”

Maritime workers rely heavily on the U.S. Coast Guard as first responders, but the Coast Guard also services the maritime economy as a regulatory agency; it is responsible for conducting marine inspections and serving as law enforcement.

“Search and rescue, law enforcement, marine safety, waterways management, and other Coast Guard missions are complicated by the Arctic’s dynamic and remote operating environment,” Fagan said at the symposium. “The Coast Guard will collaborate with stakeholders to develop new practices and technology to serve the maritime community and manage risk in the region.”

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Nylon-Nets-300x225It is estimated that our oceans hold 640,000 tons of discarded fishing gear. This “Ghost Gear” refers to any fishing gear that has been abandoned, lost, or discarded, often due to severe weather and other circumstances. Old nylon nets often end up in landfills, but more likely end up in our oceans where large sea creatures such as dolphins, sea lions, whales, and sea turtles can get tangled. According to a study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 if we continue to discard plastics, nets, and gear at this rate.

Under the Healthy Seas initiative, organizations and companies are working together to come up with innovative ways to recycle this cast-off plastic and nylon material to create usable and sustainable apparel, soft goods, and building materials.

Aquafil is an Italian based textile company that recently opened its first U.S. based recycling facility in Phoenix, Arizona. Old carpets and fishing nets are broken down into nylon that is then shipped to their Slovenian processing facility. Through a process called ‘Depolymerisation’, the Italian firm turns salvaged and collected fishing nets into a unique yarn that can be used to make consumer goods.

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Coast-Guard-Hoisting-300x200Three Tampa Bay fishermen are glad to be alive after the 32-foot F/V MISS SATURIA sank about 90 miles west of Naples, Florida. Watchstanders in St. Petersburg received mayday calls from an unknown source, then launched a U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 helicopter crew and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew to search for survivors.

The Norwegian Pearl and the Rotterdam cruise ships both reported that they heard the mayday calls near their locations. The Norwegian Pearl diverted course to assist in the search. About 40 minutes later, the Coast Guard reported that they had received an alert from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon registered to the MISS SATURIA. The vessel owner, James Glover, was contacted and reported that three fishermen were out on the vessel.

The U.S. Coast Guard sent an Ocean Sentry airplane crew from Miami to search for the men, then sent a helicopter to complete the rescue after the life raft strobe lights and red flares were spotted at about 4am. The Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted the fishermen then transferred them to the air station where emergency medical personnel were waiting.

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Bering-Sea-AK-300x225Once again, forward deployed assets were able to quickly and efficiently respond to a member of the maritime community in need of medical assistance.

Alaska Maritime Physicians relayed the message to watchstanders at Coast Guard 17th District Command Center in Juneau, that a man aboard the F/V VAERDAL was suffering from chest pains. The duty flight surgeon was briefed and requested a helicopter crew.

A forward deployed Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, aboard the Coast Guard Cutter John Midgett, medevaced the man from the vessel, which was located approximately 70 miles north of Cold Bay. He was then transported to awaiting medical personnel.

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Telemedicine-300x220Imagine being out at sea when suddenly your crewmember begins feeling weak and complains of a faint pain in his chest. When someone falls ill or is injured at sea, time, information, and support are crucial. This is a situation that requires “Telemedicine.”

Telemedicine is the term we use to describe telecommunication and information technology that helps provide clinical health care from a distance. It is a crucial service for those who work at sea and has saved countless lives in emergency situations.

In the past, radios and telephones were used to deliver information and messages. Now, via cell and satellite technology, physicians can use iPhones, iPads, photos, and video technology to diagnose and sometimes treat patients remotely.

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Kari_Marie-300x225A forward-deployed U.S. Coast Guard Air Station helicopter crew was called to medevac a crewmember on Monday after he suffered a compound fracture while aboard the F/V KARI MARIE. The fishing boat was located approximately 200 miles north of St. Paul, Alaska when the incident occurred.

Watchstanders at District 17 Command Center received notification from the F/V PACIFIC MARINER about the injury, as they were relaying communications on behalf of the F/V KARI MARIE crew. In an effort to provide additional communication coverage, an Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules aircrew was also diverted to assist with the incident.

The crewmember was reported to be in stable condition after he was transported to local emergency medical personnel in St. Paul.

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Dutch-Harbor-e1550617197701-300x186Five crewmembers were rescued on Friday by the Good Samaritan vessel KONA KAI after the F/V PACIFIC 1 sunk in the Bering Sea. Just before the Seattle based cod fishing boat went down, it was reported to have been listing heavily.

The U.S. Coast Guard watchstanders received notification from the F/V KONA KAI that the 58-foot F/V PACIFIC 1, located about 40 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, had begun taking on water. The KONA KAI lost communication with the Pacific 1, but their last known location was transmitted to officials.

Two Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews were deployed from their forward-operating location in Cold Bay, Alaska. They arrived in time to assist the KONA KAI in locating the inflatable life raft that held all 5 people. While Coast Guard personnel were able to locate the raft, an inflight issue forced them to set a data marker buoy then return to Cold Bay.

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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.