Articles Posted in Maritime News

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Ocean-Pearl-300x173On Saturday, December 8th, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued four crewmembers who abandoned ship after a fire broke out aboard the 75-foot F/V OCEAN PEARL. The vessel was located approximately 16 miles southeast of Cape May, New Jersey at the time of the incident.

Crew members reported that an electrical fire broke out just after 10:30 EST. One of the crew members was able to activate the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) just before abandoning ship.

According to authorities, a call was made to watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay’s command center using a handheld radio. The Cape May station dispatched two 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crews as well as the 87-foot patrol boat CUTTER CROCODILE.

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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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Inlandboatmens-Union-e1543366046311The Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific turned 100 years old last week and members celebrated the centenarian organization at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The organization, founded on November 20, 1918 in San Francisco, California, has quite a different look today, but the underlying directives set forth then are still with us today; to give workers a strong voice in numbers which in turn creates better working conditions.

When a meeting between deckhands and local fireman was called by Clyde W. Deal (1888-1978), deck workers and engine room workers were brought together under the same union umbrella for the first time in U.S. maritime labor history. Founded in 1918 in San Francisco, they were known simply as the Ferryboatmen’s Union of California. At the time, ferries in San Francisco Bay were owned by thriving railroad companies. Among those who organized were deckhands, watchmen, bargemen, oilers, cooks, waitresses, and firemen.

Prior to 1930, it was not uncommon for deckhands to be forced to work 12 to 18 hours per day. This was not only inhumane but created a dangerous work environment for everyone. Early bargaining successes included an 8-hour work day and a guarantee of a “dismissal wage,” or severance package for ferry workers who were displaced after the building of the San Francisco Bridge.

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San-Diego-Coast-GuardGood Samaritans aboard the charter fishing vessel Time Machine and Coast Guard officials rescued 15 people on Saturday, October 20th after a fishing boat caught fire approximately 28 miles south of Point Loma.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Diego’s Joint Harbor Operations Center were contacted at about 9:35pm after Time Machine crewmembers saw a nearby fishing boat burning and several people in the water.

The Coast Guard Station San Diego launched a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Haddock to the scene. A Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was also dispatched and Secretaría de Marina (SEMAR) deployed two defender class boats to assist.

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WashingtonStatePilotageThe 150-year anniversary of the Washington Pilotage Act was celebrated last week at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington. Elected officials Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, Kevin Van De Wege and Mayor Deborah Stinson were all in attendance.

Mayor Stinson welcomed all pilots to the Northwest Maritime Center and praised them for their leadership in safeguarding our state’s maritime economy as well as the environmental health of our waterways.

According to historian Alice Alexander, the original pilotage program was created in 1868 by a territorial act. It was later repealed, then replaced with the Puget Sound Pilots organization, which requires all foreign vessels traveling in the Puget Sound and adjacent waters that engaged in foreign trade, have professional piloting services. This requirement was initiated to protect Puget Sound waterways against loss of life, loss or damage to vessels or property, and to protect the environment.

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Coast-Guard-Adrift-300x225Four mariners required a U. S. Coast Guard rescue when their 48-foot F/V Soulmate became disabled, adrift, and unable to anchor. Watchstanders received the initial distress call from the vessel via VHF radio, but reception was so unreliable that the use of a satellite phone was required.

“This case highlights the importance of having multiple means of communications,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Taylor, a Sector Anchorage watchstander. “The availability of both a VHF radio and a satellite phone on board the vessel allowed for consistent communication with the master providing up to date information and situational reports.”

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Naushon responded to the disabled fishing vessel, located about 57 miles west of Kodiak Island and just south of Shelikof Strait. The Coast Guard Naushon crew towed the four crewmembers of the F/V Soulmate to the south side of Kodiak Island. The mariners took refuge at the Lazy Bay cannery in Alitak Bay.

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The-Bering-SeaA 55-year-old fisherman has died after sustaining internal injuries aboard the F/V Ocean Hunter. The 95-foot trawler is owned by Tacoma based Alaska Weathervane Seafoods, LLC. The vessel had been fishing for cod in the Bering Sea at the time of the incident.

According to The Alaska State Troopers’ dispatch, two vessels were tied together in open sea to facilitate a fish transfer. Christopher O’Callaghan was working on the deck when a slack line went taut and struck him in the chest. The bruising and internal injuries from the line resulted in his death. The official report also notes that several crewmembers witnessed the tragic incident. His body was transported to the state medical examiner, and authorities are continuing to investigate.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. O’Callaghan’s family and friends and all who worked beside him. He will be honored at the Fisherman’s Memorial Ceremony on May 27, 2018.

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GMO-SalmonLast week, the Food and Drug Administration approved a supplemental New Animal Drug Application (NADA) submitted by AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. While the original application was approved in 2015, this current application grants AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. the right to raise a GMO salmon species it has developed called AquAdvantage salmon at their farming facility near Albany, Indiana. The facility uses growth tanks rather than ocean pens and will be able to grow 1,200 tons of GMO salmon per year. The facility was designed so it can be expanded quickly to meet higher levels of demand for the new product.

As soon as the FDA and Department of Agriculture agree on guidelines for consumer labeling of the genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon, the company will be allowed to import the genetically modified eggs from their facilities in Canada and Panama, where the company currently genetically engineers its eggs. The eggs will then be grown and sold in the U.S. market.

According to an FDA report, AquAdvantage salmon is a genetically-engineered fish that can reach market growth more rapidly than nonmodified farm-raised Atlantic salmon. The fish are able to grow quickly because they contain DNA composed of the growth hormone gene found in Chinook salmon under the control of a gene from another species of fish called an Ocean Pout, which keeps the Chinook growth hormone gene switched on. This creates a fish that can grow to market weight in 18- to 20-months vs. the 28- to 36-month period it takes to grow farm-raised Atlantic salmon. Wild salmon growth rates vary widely depending on the species.

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Fishermen_with_their_halibutThe 2018 Pacific halibut season is set to begin at noon on Saturday, March 24nd, but the U.S. and Canada have failed to reach consensus on limits for the first time since 1990. Both countries have endorsed a quota cut.

The IPHC (The International Pacific Halibut Commission) is an intergovernmental organization that was established between Canada and the U. S. in 1923 to monitor and maintain Pacific halibut stocks at sustainable levels. The organization is recommending limits slightly lower than those of 2017. While research indicates a slight decline in stocks, Pacific halibut continue to remain at healthy levels.

When an agreement can’t be reached, quotas from the previous year are used until new limits can be set. The U.S. and Canada did agree that catch limits should be lower than the 2017 numbers. Through a domestic Interim Final Rule established by NOAA Fisheries, the U.S. is implementing catch limits that are in line with those proposed at the IPHC board meetings.

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SkyTruth_Fleets-1024x521As the world’s demand for seafood continues to rise, new methods for tracking global commercial fishing activities are imperative. In a groundbreaking study published in the journal Science, some extraordinary data are showing how fishing vessels are covering the world’s oceans, and which countries are bringing in the biggest catches.

Much of the data in the study was gathered by Global Fishing Watch, a partnership between Oceana, SkyTruth, and Google. The organization uses high-tech satellite images and AIS (Automatic Identification Systems) to monitor, record, and track the movement of fishing vessels around the globe. In the past, this data was collected using logbooks, observers in fishing ports, and electronic vessel tracking. Despite its suggestive nature, this information was often out of date, incomplete, and inaccurate.

The accuracy of the newer methods is connected to the massive amounts of data collected between 2012 and 2016. Over 22 billion AIS messages were logged, identifying more than 70,000 vessels. Computers running sophisticated software programs searched for patterns in the large data sets. They were able to match vessels to fleet registries and track vessel movements. Computer algorithms were also used to determine when a vessel was fishing and what it was fishing for. For instance, the data collected in 2016 reveals that of the vessels tracked, over 40 million hours were spent at sea and the vessels traveled approximately 460 million kilometers.