Articles Posted in Maritime Safety

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Legacy-300x192On Saturday January 14th, 2022, The U.S. Coast Guard rescued seven people after a 1,000-foot towing line snapped and the tug they were piloting became disabled. The incident happened about 30 miles off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland at approximately 3:30 a.m.

Crew members aboard the tug LEGACY were towing a 290-foot barge from New Jersey to Guyana at the time of the incident. The 1,000-foot towing line became caught in the starboard propeller. One engine was still functional, and the crew tried to regain control of the barge; however, the line snapped.

One of the LEGACY crew members called the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region and reported that they were disabled, adrift, and preparing to abandon ship.

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Watchstanders at AmericasFinest-300x145the 17th Coast Guard District command center in Juneau, AK received a medevac request after a crewmember aboard the 262-foot fish processor AMERICA’S FINEST suffered serious foot injuries.

The request is reported to have come from the vessel’s master at approximately 2:30am on Thursday, March 17th. The vessel was located about 20 miles west of St. George Island at the time of the incident.

A US Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was deployed while the AMERICA’S FINEST vessel traveled toward Dutch Harbor. An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Kodiak was also launched to provide additional support. The injured worker was hoisted at approximately 12:52pm, then flown to Dutch Harbor where LifeMed personnel were waiting.

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Ocean_Waves-300x173People often believe that all attorneys know all the laws of the land.  Just as you would go to a trained cardiologist for heart issues or a radiologist to diagnose a broken bone, there are many types of lawyers who are versed in many types of law. It is always best to engage with a specialist.

Why Should You Work with a Maritime Lawyer?

Maritime Law is a very specific set of rules and laws that deal with injuries and accidents that occur on or near a body of water, a lake, ocean, or sea. While these laws were originally created to address national and international commerce, they have since expanded to include fishing vessels, recreational and passenger boats, oil rigs, and more. Virtually anyone injured on or near a body of water should consult with an attorney who specializes in Maritime Law.

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LAURA-300x150U.S. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders received a distress call from the master of the F/V LAURA on Monday, November 1, 2021, after the vessel reportedly ran aground on the shore at Black Rock, on Kodiak Island. It was also reported that the crew was using life rafts to abandon ship.

An Air Station Kodiak C-130 Hercules aircrew and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew were launched. Thanks to assistance from the good Samaritan F/V STILLWATER, the aircrews were able to quickly locate the fishermen. A Coast Guard helicopter crew deployed a rescue swimmer to hoist the crew-members from the sinking 90-foot F/V LAURA, and safely transported them to Air Station Kodiak.

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is that all crew members have proper safety equipment and training. For more information, read our post regarding the maintenance and testing of immersion suits.

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Patricia_Lee_FV-300x150An injured fisherman was medevaced from a fishing boat on 10/19/2021 after sustaining serious injuries to his pelvic region. It is reported that the crewmember became pinned by a crab pot while working on deck. The F/V PATRICIA LEE was located about 225 miles west of Dutch Harbor at the time of the accident.

The master of the 117-foot F/V PATRICIA LEE contacted Watchstanders in the 17th District command center in Juneau to request a medevac at about 4 p.m. The fishing vessel made its way toward Dutch Harbor as Command center personnel directed the launch of the Air Station Kodiak helicopter crew from Cold Bay. In an effort to provide backup, an additional MH-60 Jayhawk aircraft crew and a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft crew were launched from Air Station Kodiak.

The MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak hoisted the injured fisherman at approximately 11:50 p.m., then he was flown to Dutch Harbor and placed in the care of awaiting LifeMed personnel.

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NIOSH_PFD-300x150Between 2000 and 2014, overboard falls were the second leading cause of death among commercial fishermen in the United States. Of the 210 who died from falling overboard, not one of the victims was wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device). What was the leading cause of death among commercial fishermen? Vessel disasters.

According to the CDC, there are no laws that require commercial fishermen wear PFDs. However, USCG regulations [46 CFR 28.110] require that all commercial fishing vessels carry at least one USCG approved PFD or immersion suit of proper size and in good working order for each person on board the vessel. (See our post  Overdue F/V Stormie B Crewmember Rescued  —  September 7, 2021)

Research has shown that the likelihood of surviving an overboard fall is five times greater if a lifejacket or PFD is worn. In a recent survey regarding PFD usage, 16% of respondents said they never wear a PFD while working on deck. Most respondents acknowledged that this safety device is effective at preventing overboard fatalities, yet they were still reluctant about donning this crucial piece of protective gear. Just a few of the reasons offered by crew members:

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AMH-Jayhawk-1024x512n overdue crewmember was rescued on Friday, September 3rd, near Lazy Bay on Kodiak Island after failing to return to the F/V STORMIE B.

The master of the F/V STORMIE B called watchstanders at the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage command center to report that a crewmember, who had set out in an inflatable boat powered only by oars, was overdue. The master also reported that that they had searched the area for two hours without results.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was deployed from Air Station Kodiak as well as the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter NAUSHON, and the missing mariner was located. A rescue swimmer hoisted and safely transported the seafarer to a nearby cannery.

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Dutch_Harbor_Rescue-300x225Four people were rescued on August 25th after their fishing vessel ran aground near Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

The F/V ENDURANCE crew made an emergency satellite phone call to watchstanders at approximately 10:57pm, reporting that the vessel had run aground, was listing severely, and taking on water. The call was received by U.S. Coast Guard 17th District command center in Juneau, Alaska and help was dispatched.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter BERTHOLF was located approximately 30 miles northeast of the F/V ENDURANCE at the time of the call. The BERTHOLF crew launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and a small boat to rescue the stranded seafarers.

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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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