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Articles Posted in Vessel Sinkings

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Alaska-Iceberg1200x600STACEY & JACOBSEN, PLLC represents the two survivors in the SCANDIES ROSE sinking. The vessel owner (Scandies Rose Fishing Co., LLC) and the vessel manager (Mattsen Management LLC) have filed a Petition for Limitation of Liability in Federal Court Seattle. The vessel owner and manager initiated legal action arguing that they have no responsibility for the deaths of the crew and injuries to the survivors. As we understand the position of the owner and manager, they claim that they had no knowledge of the bad weather that was forecast for New Year’s Eve. The vessel owner and manager are taking this position even though a majority of the Kodiak fleet stayed at the dock that day due to bad weather. SCANDIES ROSE and Mattsen Management, however, claim that SCANDIES ROSE is a larger boat and did not need to heed the weather that was forecast for that day. Obviously, they were mistaken.

This Federal Court proceeding compelled the families and survivors to Answer the Petition and bring their own claims. Four of the five families of the decedents and the two survivors filed their legal pleadings, as required, before May 28, 2020. The captain was one of the owners of the vessel and his family did not file a claim. The parties will meet soon to work out a discovery plan and propose court dates. It is estimated that a trial date will be set sometime in mid-2021. Recently, the survivors filed Sworn Affidavits in a probate court in order to help the families obtain death certificates. The Affidavits contain chilling details of events that occurred in the final moments.

The survivors report that they were awakened when SCANDIES ROSE took a serious list to starboard. The entire crew ran up to the wheelhouse. Captain Cobban confirmed that the vessel had a serious list and that the vessel was sinking. He ordered everyone to get their survival suits on as the vessel continued the roll to starboard. At some point, before the survivors got out, the vessel was nearly on her starboard side. The crew struggled to put on their survival suits because the vessel was listing at such a sharp angle. Water began flowing into the starboard side (which basically had become the floor). The survivors report that they were able to climb up and out of the wheelhouse through the port side door. They were able to stand on the port side hull and called back for the other crew to get out. At that time, all the lights went out, and almost immediately, a wave knocked the survivors off the hull and into the sea. The two survivors were able to locate a life raft and climb aboard. They floated approximately five hours before being rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. They never saw their fellow crewmembers again after they got washed off the hull.

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ScandiesRoseFacebookWe are deeply saddened by the recent news of the sinking of the  F/V SCANDIES ROSE in Alaskan waters. We have been practicing maritime law for over 35 years and have handled dozens of sinking cases. Yet, the news of such a disaster is always shocking, tragic, and heartbreaking. The sinking of DESTINATION and MARY B II has barely faded from the front page when we now must face this catastrophic news.

We represented families of lost souls on these two fishing vessels. Below is an outline of what the families can expect from the insurance company involved in the SCANDIES ROSE case.

1. The insurance company will first appoint an insurance adjuster and hire their lawyers. The lawyers will stay behind the scenes at first and send the adjuster to meet with the families. The adjuster will try to “assure” the families that the insurance company will take care of the families. Of course, the insurance company and the adjuster are not friends of the families and will be pursuing the interests of the insurance company (that is, to minimize the amounts paid). The adjuster will probably “offer” to pay for a memorial service and fly family members to the service.

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Cape_Cod-300x157It is with great sadness that we report that the U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for three missing fishermen near Massachusetts.

An Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert from F/V LEONARDO was received by the U.S. Coast Guard District One command center on Sunday at 3:18 P.M. Personnel from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to investigate.

The F/V LEONARDO was carrying four crew members when it capsized and sank approximately 24 nautical miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard. Coast Guard crewmembers were able to rescue one of the four fishermen, Ernesto Santos, from a lifeboat.

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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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Miss-Emma-300x200The U.S. Coast Guard rescued six fishermen and one NOAA fisheries observer on Tuesday, September 17th after the F/V MISS EMMA caught fire approximately 8 miles south of Ko’Olina, Hawaii.

A VHF mayday call was received at about 4:29 p.m. from the vessel crew, who were aggressively fighting the fire. Sector Honolulu sent out an alert to other vessels in the area and directed the launch of a response boat, the cutter JOSEPH GERCZAK, an HC-130 Hercules SAR airplane, and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

The seven people aboard the F/V Miss Emma were forced to abandon ship via a liferaft. The U.S. Coast Guard was able to rescue everyone within half an hour of receiving the mayday call. The crewmembers and the NOAA fisheries observer were taken to Pier 38 in Honolulu where they were met by first responders, medical personnel, and officials from Customs and Border Protection. No injuries were reported.

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Diving-Accident-300x225At approximately 3:30 a.m. on Monday, Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach watchstanders overheard a mayday call on channel 16 that a 75-foot commercial diving vessel carrying 39 people was engulfed in flames.

Watchstanders launched two Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crews, a Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco Forward Operating Base Mugu Dolphin MH-65 helicopter crew, a Coast Guard Air Station San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, as well as the Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll reported that of the 39 people aboard the dive vessel CONCEPTION, twenty-five people are confirmed dead and nine are still missing. Victims have been found, but due to unsafe conditions under the boat, divers are currently unable to recover the bodies.

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Response-Boat-Medium-300x199Five crewmembers were rescued from their skiff after their 49-foot fishing vessel sank near Black Island, Alaska. Watchstanders at U. S. Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a call about the accident on Sunday, July 14th over VHF channel 16. The F/V DAFFNIE capsized and all five crewmembers boarded a skiff as the vessel was sinking. The position of the skiff was reported, and watchstanders received an additional warning signal from the EPIRB registered to the vessel. It was reported that the crewmembers had only one survival suit, a handheld radio, and one life jacket between them. They were also holding onto the seine net.

An Alaska State wildlife trooper arrived on the scene and confirmed the location of the skiff. Good Samaritan F/V LOVIE JOANN and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from the U. S. Coast Guard Station Ketchikan arrived approximately 10 minutes later. Four of the crewmembers were transferred to the RB-M vessel and taken to Ketchikan. The F/V DAFFNIE master stayed with the skiff, and the crew aboard the F/V LOVIE JOANN assisted in the retrieval of the seine net.

The vessel sank in approximately 500 feet of water and can carry up to 400 gallons of diesel fuel. Responders reported a visible sheen on the water in the area of the sinking. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment personnel will investigate further regarding pollution and potential salvage of the sunken vessel.

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WhittierExp1-300x225Just after midnight on July 8th, the town of Whittier, Alaska was rocked when an explosion occurred on a fixed barge at the Delong Dock. Fire from the explosion spread to the pier as well as the docked 99-foot F/V ALAGANIK. Watchstanders were alerted to the explosion and blaze after they heard “Whittier fire, Whittier fire” on VHF Channel 16. They contacted Whittier dispatchers, who confirmed that the Delong Dock was indeed on fire.

A 100-yard safety zone was set up to keep vessels away from the fire, and the crew of the U. S. Coast Guard Cutter CHANDELEUR worked to maintain the safety zone as responders searched for a 49-year-old man from Cordova, Alaska who was reported as missing.

In addition to Coast Guard crews, response efforts included members of the Whittier Fire Department, Whittier Police Department, Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel Fire Department and Girdwood Fire Department. Whittier Fire Department chief Brian Hicks was reported to be the on-scene commander. Whittier Fire Department personnel reported the fire extinguished at about 2:50 a.m.

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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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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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