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Articles Posted in Maritime Safety

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Burning-Boat-Coast-Guard-300x150At approximately 6 p.m. on May 5th, watchstanders at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received a distress call reporting that a 48-foot vessel was on fire just off the shore of Port Angeles, WA. The three men aboard the vessel were unable to extinguish the flames.

An Air Station Port Angeles MH-65 rescue helicopter crew as well as a Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew responded and were at the scene within 15 minutes. The three men were rescued from the burning yacht, and the U.S. Coast Guard boat crew boarded the burning vessel and attempted to extinguish the fire with the use of a fire extinguisher and a water pump. The vessel was then placed in tow to rendezvous with local firefighters. As they were traveling, the fire re-flashed, forcing the boat crew to break the tow. Emergency personnel remained on the scene to monitor and secure the area. The yacht sank shortly after the rescue; however, no fuel sheen was observed.

“The fast action to call for help was essential to their survival,” said Petty Officer Alexander Polyak, watchstander at Sector Puget Sound command center. “Having a reliable means of communication, appropriate for your location and distance offshore, can mean the difference between life and death. We encourage all mariners to not only have cell phones, but make sure you have a VHF-FM marine-band radio to ensure communication capability in the event of an emergency.”

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USCGC_MIDGETT_WMSL-757_Honolulu_HarborIn a heroic effort by the U.S. Coast Guard, a mariner was medevaced from the F/V VICIOUS CYCLE after sustaining a forearm injury. The vessel was located approximately 130-miles southwest of Kailua Kona, Hawaii at the time of the incident.

Sector Honolulu watchstanders received the call from a Good Samaritan at approximately 11:14AM on April 27th, 2021, reporting that the master of the F/V VICIOUS CYCLE had sustained an injury.

Attempts were made to contact the vessel via radio, but the fishing boat was out of radio range. An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew was launched and was able to make contact with the vessel. The Coast Guard duty flight surgeon was contacted, and based on the situation, recommended that the mariner be medevaced.

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Disembarking-via-gangway-OSHAEach year fishermen, crewmembers, and deckhands are injured aboard fishing vessels due to slip and fall accidents. Many of these accidents occur on decks, ladders, and stairs, and most happen due to:

  • poorly maintained equipment
  • equipment that is out of compliance
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Coast-Guard-Rescue2-300x218The most dangerous job in the world requires proper safety gear, proficient training, quick action during mishaps, and experienced emergency responders at the ready when the need arises. These essentials came together on Tuesday, September 8th to save the life of a fisherman when his 44-foot commercial fishing vessel ran aground then began breaking apart in the 10-foot surf near South Beach State Park, Oregon.

Watchstanders at U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Bend received a mayday call that the lone fisherman, trapped on the south jetty in Newport, was being forced to abandon ship. The 52-foot Motor Lifeboat Victory, a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat, and a ground crew were dispatched from Station Yaquina Bay.

Crew members from Station Yaquina Bay instructed the fisherman to use flares to signal his location. The flares were visible to the Motor Lifeboat as well as an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter that had been deployed. The helicopter was unfortunately forced to turn back due to hazardous weather and poor visibility.

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Survival_suits_USCG1200x700-300x175On August 11th, multiple U.S. Coast Guard units received distress calls stating that the F/V ARCTIC FOX II, a 66-foot commercial fishing boat, had begun taking on water. The vessel was located about 85 miles off Cape Flattery, Washington at the time of trouble.

The three crewmembers aboard were getting ready to abandon ship and reported that they were all wearing survival suits. Once on the scene, the U.S. Coast Guard aircrew immediately spotted a lifeboat. One survivor was aboard and hoisted into the helicopter. Tragically, the other two crewmembers did not survive. While the fishermen were all wearing survival suits, it was later reported that the suits were old, in poor repair, and that the seams were cracked. The suits that were meant to save lives, were not watertight.

This tragic accident highlights the need for all vessel owners, masters, and captains to test the functionality of immersion suits stored on their vessels. Under federal law, it is the duty of the person in charge of the vessel to make sure all lifesaving gear is properly maintained and inspected before each voyage. Follow these best practices for proper inspection and care.

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Lab_Worker_CDCFB-300x158In a press release issued last night, American Seafoods has reported that 86 crewmembers have tested positive for COVID-19, and nine more crewmembers are still awaiting results.

It was reported that one crew member became ill and was taken to a hospital while the ship was docked in Bellingham. That crewmember tested positive for COVID-19 and remains in a hospital for treatment after being admitted Friday.

According to a spokesperson for American Seafoods, all crew members were tested for COVID-19 by the University of Washington before boarding the vessel. Only those who tested negative for the virus were allowed to board.

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Arctic_Storm_RescueA fisherman working aboard the F/V ARCTIC STORM suffered a severe hand injury on Monday, November 18th.

The call reporting the injury came to watchstanders at the U.S Coast Guard Sector North Bend at 3:42 p.m. Monday, November 18th. The vessel was located about 34 miles west of Newport, Oregon at the time of the incident. As further communication took place between the vessel and Coast Guard personnel, it was determined that the best approach was to medevac the injured worker as soon as possible.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Facility Newport arrived at the F/V ARCTIC STORM at 7:36 a.m on Tuesday, November 19th. The 21-year-old male was hoisted and transported to awaiting medical personnel at Samaritan Pacific Community Hospital in Newport, Oregon for treatment. Weather conditions at the time of the rescue were reported as 10 to 13-foot seas and 25-mph winds.

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Boot-e1573002489495-668x1024Processing fish at sea has numerous benefits. At-sea-processing offers consumers the freshest product, reduces waste due to spoilage, and minimizes transportation fuel costs. But what happens to the waste products such as fish heads, fins and internal fish organs? They cannot simply be thrown overboard as they are considered “garbage”. The IMO has set up rules and regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from vessels and is covered under the Annex V of MARPOL.

MARPOL food waste disposal regulations require grinding seafood waste remains into particles ½” or smaller before they can be disposed of in Alaskan waters. This means that fish processing vessels must be outfitted with industrial grinders that can handle these byproducts. In addition, the ground seafood waste can only be discharged when the vessel is 3 nautical miles or more from land or 12 nautical miles from land if the vessel is in a location deemed “special”.

But these are not just any grinders. These heavy-duty industrial grinders, such as the Muffin Monster industrial seafood waste processor, must be able to grind rocks that have been ingested by sea creatures and stainless steel fishhooks that may still be in their mouths. It isn’t unusual for a halibut head to weigh more than 35 pounds, and these industrial grinders are known to macerate it in less than 20 seconds.

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Alaska-Iceberg1200x600-300x150Vessel stability refers to the ability of a vessel to return to its upright position after being heeled over by wind, waves, or other forces. If a vessel is not stable, it is susceptible to capsizing. Each vessel is unique and therefore needs its own stability report prepared by a qualified naval architect.

Vessel stability was in the news again after the National Transportation Safety Board released its findings regarding the sinking of F/V PACIFIC KNIGHT, the vessel that capsized in Bristol Bay on July 25th, 2018. There were several contributing factors, but they all led back to stability. An overloaded vessel and an inadequate assessment of the vessel’s stability was cited as the cause of this devastating accident that took the life of a 59-year-old fisherman.

Vessel stability is complex and must be calculated by a professional. It is recommended that new stability reports be completed every 10 years or after any and all changes to equipment or modifications are made to a vessel. Stability is not a constant condition; it undergoes continuous changes during each voyage and through the life of a vessel.

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Coos-Bay-Fearless-300x168Two people were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday, September 22nd after the 54-foot fishing vessel they were navigating became disabled after striking a submerged object. The F/V FEARLESS II subsequently drifted into the rocks near the Coos River entrance. Watchstanders at Sector North Bend received the distress call over VHF-FM radio channel 16 at approximately 12:52am.

The crewmembers climbed onto the rocks after being forced to abandon ship. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew and a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew were dispatched from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Coos Bay and hoisted the two people from the jetty. They were transported to the air station and awaiting emergency medical personnel. One crewmember was uninjured while the other sustained abrasions and lacerations during the incident.

Salvage and debris cleanup from the vessel wreckage will be ongoing and challenging due to the precarious position of the F/V FEARLESS II among the rocks. The vessel belonged to the late Josh Porter, who lost his life along with two other crewmembers last January in the devastating F/V MARY B II accident off Newport. The F/V FEARLESS II was reportedly being brought back to Oregon to be sold.

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