Articles Posted in Crabbers

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JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard urges mariners to use caution with the onset of heavy weather expected to affect the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea, this weekend.

The Coast Guard has notified the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, patrolling in the Bering Sea with an embarked Air Station Kodiak MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, to standby to assist mariners.

Capt. Diane Durham, chief of response, 17th District, said,. “We are encouraging all mariners to monitor National Weather Service reports and take appropriate safety precautions, such as pulling into a safe harbor or taking shelter in the lee of an island, in order to safeguard their crews.”

On Wednesday, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service forecasted that the storm will include hurricane force winds, 45-foot seas and possible coastal flooding in Western Alaska.

Please visit the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Website at for the most up to date information on the storm.

In order to learn more about preparing for emergency situations please visit the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Website at

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The Coast Guard has closed all maritime entrances in the Pacific Northwest, Friday, due to severe  sea conditions and large amounts of debris in the water.

In Oregon, the ports of Chetco River in Brookings; Coos Bay; Umpqua River in Winchester Bay; Siuslaw River in Florence; Yaquina Bay in Newport; Depoe Bay; Tillamook Bay in Girabaldi; and the Columbia River are closed to all traffic. 

In Washington the port of Grays Harbor in Westport; and Quillayute River in LaPush are closed.

Several storms carrying strong winds and heavy rainfall crossed the Pacific Northwest over the last week and have caused flooding and landslides in parts of Oregon and Washington.

Flood waters and landslides have caused large amounts of debris to flow in the river systems causing potential problems with maritime traffic.

The Coast Guard encourages all boaters and mariners operating in the inland rivers to be aware of potential floating debris and debris below the surface and report any major issues with navigational channels to the Coast Guard.

Capt. Dan Travers, commander Sector Columbia River and Captain of the Port for all ports in Oregon and Southwest Washington said, “The storms that we all experienced over the last several days have made it dangerous for mariners to transit in and out of our many rivers due to severe sea conditions and debris.”

For updated river entrance observations and conditions visit the NOAA Western U.S. Bar Observation site.

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A crab fisherman reportedly injured his abdomen while pulling crab pots in Shelikof (SHELL’-luh-cough) Strait on the F/V IRENE H on Jan 13, 2015. Crew from the vessel called the Coast Guard to request medical assistance. Kodiak Coast Guard Air Station responded with a Jayhawk helicopter.

Weather conditions were reportedly 25 mph winds and 7-foot seas.

“The operation was challenging from the start,” said Lt. Greg Dahl, pilot of the Jayhawk. “The dynamic weather conditions made for a rough ride but once on scene, the captain and crew of the vessel were very cooperative which enabled us to smoothly execute a successful rescue.”

The injured man was hoisted into the helicopter and flown to Kodiak, for ongoing medical care.

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A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter conducted a medevac this morning for a man who was ‘suffering from numerous injuries after a crab pot fell on him.’

The injury occurred aboard the F/V Miss Courtney Kim near Sanak Island, the Coast Guard said.

The patient, who wasn’t identified, was picked up at King Cove and carried to Cold Bay. From there, he was transferred to Anchorage.

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The Arctic Hunter is no longer a salvage operation — Dan Magone of Resolve-Magone Marine Services says the grounded crab boat is officially a wreck. His crews returned to the ship today for the first time in more than a week.

“We found that, as we suspected, the hull damage is much more severe now than after the initial grounding because of that storm that happened about a week ago,” Magone says.

And he says that level of damage means insurance will treat the vessel as a wreck removal, which can be more expensive than a salvage operation.

Before that removal can start, though, Magone says they have to check for fuel in one last tank. He says he’s not optimistic they’ll find any.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation estimated this week that the Arctic Hunter leaked 6,000 gallons of diesel into the water in the hours after the accident. Magone says he thinks that fuel spilled almost as soon as the vessel hit the rocks Nov. 1.

“By the time we got there about five hours later, there wasn’t any evidence of a serious spill, so it has to have already dissipated by that time,” he says. “When we sounded the tanks, they were already full of water.”

As for fuel recovery, Magone says they separated 5,000 gallons of diesel from the fuel-water mix they found in those tanks. The crew of the Arctic Hunter has said they were carrying about 12,000 gallons of fuel when they ran aground.

Magone says it could take anywhere from two weeks to two months to get the wreck off the rocks, depending on weather. The Coast Guard will continue monitoring those operations.

Chief Warrant Officer Mark Morrissey says officers in Unalaska are collecting evidence for the accident’s investigating officer in Anchorage. He says they’re still trying to pin down the details of the accident.

Morrissey couldn’t say what impact the fuel spill might have on any criminal charges that might be in the works.

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The 93-foot crab boat has survived a series of storms this week without breaking apart. But salvagers haven’t been able to work on the vessel since last weekend.

“We’ve got seas building out there that are expected to stay [as] big onshore swells until sometime next week, so we’re not too sure when we’re gonna get back out there,” Magone said of salvage efforts.

Meanwhile, Magone says debris like toolboxes and a survival suit from the Arctic Hunter is starting to wash up on the beach. He says he expects the vessel’s condition to keep deteriorating in the bad weather before salvagers can return.

“It basically just beats them apart,” Magone said. “The bottom gets split open, sometimes the propeller shafts get pulled out through the back and the engines and gears fall out of the bottom, and, you know, it gets pretty ugly.”

Before the weather turned, Magone says his crews pumped out about 9,000 gallons of fuel-water mix from the Arctic Hunter. More than half of that was fuel. Magone says there could still be fuel in some tanks below the water line, but there’s nothing they can do about that until weather calms down.

“Right now what we’re doing is gear up for the wreck removal phase of the project, and so we’re busy getting our small barge set up so that we can use it to support the diving and the other work that we need to do in the shallow waters there,” he said.

At this stage, all the Coast Guard can do to help is monitor the seas for an oil sheen.

Coast Guard public affairs officer Shawn Eggert says once the vessel’s off the rocks, the Coast Guard will start digging in to what caused the accident.

“The investigation can take anywhere from a month to a year,” Eggert said. “You know, in this case I don’t expect that it’ll take that long, but I haven’t gotten any kind of an estimate on how long they expect it’ll take.”

So far, the Coast Guard has said the skipper of the vessel might have been asleep at the wheel. And Unalaska’s police department says the skipper failed a breathalyzer test a few hours after the grounding.

Eggert couldn’t say if or when charges might be filed.

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After leaving Dutch Harbor early morning Fri Nov 1, the ARCTIC HUNTER, a 93-foot crabber, ran aground on the rocks near Morris Cove and became partially submerged.

Numerous vessels responded to the Mayday. SAGA SEA was first on the scene to rescue the six man crew. There were no reported crew injuries.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation by the Coast Guard. The Captain of the vessel reportedly failed one of two sobriety tests. Reports say the captain claimed he had a beer after the ARCTIC HUNTER went aground and before abandoning ship. Other reports have suggested the captain fell asleep at the wheel.

Magone Marine has led salvage efforts and contain environmental damages. Attempts to remove 12,000 gallons of fuel from the vessel have been hampered by high winds and rough seas.

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Six crew members of a Cambodian crab fishing boat died on May 16 in a fire on their ship. The vessel was anchored in a Japanese port at the time.

A total of 23 crew members were on board the vessel at the time of the fire. In addition to the six that were killed, two other crew members were hospitalized for burns.

The fire burned for about 11 hours before it was extinguished. The six bodies were retrieved after the fire was extinguished and water was pumped out of the vessel.

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The Coast Guard will again be conducting Operation Safe Crab to reduce the loss of lives and fishing vessels in the west coast crab fleet.

Coast Guard personnel will be available on the docks for dockside exams in ports from Monterey, Calif., to Crescent City, Calif., Nov. 6-8 to help identify and mitigate safety hazards in the crab fleet.

Coast Guard personnel will be walking the docks and informing commercial crab vessel operators of the required lifesaving equipment for their vessels, as well as pot-loading practices affecting vessel stability and watertight integrity. The 2010 Authorization Act changed the law for commercial fishing vessels, making it mandatory for vessels operating outside of three nautical miles to have a dockside examination after Oct. 15, 2012. Dockside exams have reduced the number of casualties and helped identify potential problems. 11th Coast Guard District statistics show nearly one-third of Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons and life rafts carried on board were incorrectly installed. This type of situation is easily corrected and can help prevent a disaster at sea. Those vessels with serious safety discrepancies, such as overloading, lack of watertight integrity, missing primary life saving equipment or non-functioning EPIRB’s, can be restricted from operating until the discrepancies are corrected.

Implemented in 1991, the Coast Guard’s Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Program is designed to help commercial fishermen identify and eliminate potential safety hazards. Successful completion of a dockside exam can also make any future at-sea Coast Guard boarding greatly abbreviated.

All California commercial crab fishermen are encouraged to contact their local Coast Guard Fishing Vessel Safety examiner with any questions or to schedule an exam.

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The 30-foot fishing vessel ELLA ANN sank at the mouth of Willapa Bay on Sunday while fishing for dungeness crab. One of two crewmen, 34 year old Luis Perez was tragically lost. The caused of the capsize and sinking is unknown, but will be investigated by the Coast Guard. The captain of the vessel, Eric Petit, was revived with CPR by a helicopter crew after he was rescued.

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