Articles Posted in Maritime Safety

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Underwater-Wreckage-1024x732A diver was medevaced after an accident that occurred about nine miles northeast of False Pass, Alaska on Thursday, September 13th. The diver was working on a wreckage project, when a piece of underwater debris broke loose and pinned him to the ocean floor at a depth of approximately 65 feet. After several minutes, the diver was able to free himself and make his way to the surface; however, it was reported that he sustained injures to the left side of his body and was bleeding from his nose.

The dive master aboard the vessel MAKUSHIN BAY called watchstanders at the 17th District command center in Juneau at about 1:50pm to report the accident, and the Coast Guard duty flight surgeon recommended the medevac. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew out of Air Station Kodiak was in Cold Bay on another transport, and was able to safely deliver their patient then travel to the injured diver. He was hoisted aboard, then transported to medical care in Cold Bay.

“The diver’s ability to free himself, coupled with our aircrew’s proximity to the accident today provided a favorable outcome,” said Lt. Stephen Nolan, command duty officer for the case. “The aircrew just so happened to be in Cold Bay on a separate, unrelated mission. As vast a place as Alaska is, being able to get to someone who needs help in time is always one of the biggest challenges our crews face. We were grateful to be able to do that today.”

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MRI-850x700The 2018 fishing season has seen many head and brain injuries. Being injured while working at sea can be disastrous to one’s career, but head and brain injuries can also be debilitating. Jones Act Law protects seamen, fishermen, tugboat workers, and crewmembers who have been injured while working at sea. The maritime doctrine of “maintenance and cure” is a no-fault maritime benefit. It means that the employer must pay for all reasonable medical expenses associated with a head or brain injury, including the following:

• Hospitalization

• Emergency Transportation

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Medevac-Cordova-AK-e1533669424484-300x226A crewmember aboard the F/V DEVOTION sustained a head injury on Saturday, August 4th approximately 34 miles southwest of Cordova, Alaska.  It was reported that following the injury,  the 51-year-old fell and required immediate medical attention.

Watchstanders received a relay call from the charter vessel Dan Ryan requesting assistance in the form of a medevac. After a consultation with the Coast Guard duty flight surgeon, it was confirmed that the crewmember did indeed need immediate medical attention. A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew responded to the call and delivered the crewmember to awaiting medical personnel.

“When we arrived to the scene, the fishing vessel was tied up to an offshore supply vessel, which made for a unique hoist,” said Lt. Joe Chevalier, a Jayhawk pilot during the medevac. “Through the coordination of the duty flight surgeon, Sector Anchorage Watchstanders and the Devotion crew, we were able to get the man to higher level care quickly.”

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https://www.maritimeinjurylawyersblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/155/2018/07/U.S.-Coast-Guard-Nordic-Cross-300x200.jpgThe U.S. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage received a call on July 25th that a 47-year-old crewmember working aboard the F/V NORDIC CROSS had sustained a severe leg injury and needed medical attention. Watchstanders requested that an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew be called to medevac the man from the vessel, which was located in Duck Bay, near Kodiak, Alaska.

The helicopter crew hoisted the injured fisherman aboard, then transported him to awaiting emergency medical personnel.

“The Nordic Cross crew did a great job of clearing their fishing gear from the deck so we could conduct a safe basket hoist,” said Lt. Joseph Chevalier, aircraft commander of the case. “With that and the adaptability and coordination of the rescue swimmer and health services technician in the Jayhawk’s cabin, we were able to get this man to emergency care quickly and efficiently.”

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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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USCG_C130_Hercules-300x200The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for a fisherman who fell overboard in Ugashik Bay, 190 miles west of Kodiak, Alaska.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard 17th District Command Center received an urgent marine information broadcast on Thursday, July 19th at approximately 4:27p.m. from the F/V CAPE GREIG, that a crewmember had fallen overboard. An Air Station Kodiak Jayhawk aircrew was immediately dispatched to conduct a search in addition to a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules aircraft, which was diverted to the scene.

Nine good Samaritan vessels joined the search and covered over 13-square miles along the shoreline of Ugashik Bay as well as upriver, in an effort to locate the missing fisherman.

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Lava_Bomb_Hole-1024x794The U.S. Coast Guard and the Hawaii County Police Department continue to investigate an incident in which “lava bombs” showered down on a Kapoho Bay sightseeing vessel, injuring 23 tourists. Officials reported that the lava tour boat was cruising near the erupting Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island when lava bombs began crashing down on the vessel. It has been reported that about 50 lava bombs hit the boat and that one, about the size of a basketball, pierced the metal roof of the vessel, injuring 23 passengers.

Sector Honolulu watchstanders received the initial call from 911 at about 6 a.m. that three crewmembers, as well as three tourists, had been injured in an incident in Kapoho Bay aboard the lava sightseeing vessel Hot Shot. The sightseeing vessel returned to Hilo harbor where emergency medical personnel were waiting to receive the injured. Ten passengers were treated at the scene for cuts and burns, while 13 others were referred to Hilo Medical Center for treatment. Four were sent by ambulance, and one woman in her 20s has been listed in serious condition with burns and a fractured femur.

“Today’s unfortunate event is a good reminder about the risks involved with observing a natural wonder like this one and the reason officials are continuously monitoring the eruption to ensure the public is kept at safe distances on land, in the air and while at sea,” Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said in a statement.

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Coast-Guard-MH-60-JayhawkThanks to the swift efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard and good Samaritan F/V Pacific Pearl, three fishermen in Sitka Sound were rescued this week after their vessel began taking on water.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a distress call from the captain of the 33-foot F/V Leona at about 10:30pm. It was reported that the vessel was taking on water and bilge pumps were unable to keep up with the rate of flooding. Watchstanders urgently requested an Air Station Sitka Jayhawk MH-60 be dispatched to the scene.

An emergency dewatering pump was lowered onto the vessel, but the F/V Leona was taking on water too rapidly; the pump could not keep up. The three crewmembers were forced to abandon ship as the vessel began sinking into Sitka Sound. The good Samaritan F/V Pacific Pearl was able to take the three crewmembers aboard then transport them to Sitka.

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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.”

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Coos-BayThe U.S. Coast Guard recently responded to a call from the 36-foot fishing vessel, Lacie Belle, that a crewmember was suffering from seizures. The call came in at 5:25 p.m. and by 5:54 p.m. an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Sector North Bend was on the scene, approximately 10 miles north of Cape Blanco.

The Coast Guard sent a rescue swimmer down to assess the crewmember and determined that the man needed immediate medical attention. A basket was sent down to the fishing vessel and the crewmember was hoisted to the waiting helicopter (watch the heroic video). The crewmember was successfully airlifted to medical personnel at the Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay, Oregon by 6:28 p.m.

Seizures can happen anytime or any place, but when they occur on a fishing vessel, it is even more important for crewmembers to know how to respond. While there are many types of seizures, most people are familiar with the generalized tonic-clonic seizure, also known as a grand mal seizure, in which a person, falls, shakes, jerks, and cries out. If this happens while at sea, a crewmember must take charge and do the following: