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January 16, 2015

F/V IRENE H - Crewman Medevaced

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.

March 14, 2014

Crab Pot injury

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.

November 16, 2013

F/V Arctic Hunter declared a Wreck

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.

November 9, 2013

F/V Arctic Hunter Sheds Debris

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.

November 5, 2013

ARCTIC HUNTER Rescue near Dutch Harbor

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.

May 18, 2013

Six die in Fire

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.

November 2, 2012

Coast Guard Operation Safe Crab

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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December 22, 2010

Crewman Lost, Captain Resuscitated

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.

November 10, 2010

Operation Safe Crab

Coast Guard is implementing Operation Safe Crab for the 2010 Dungeness Crab Season. On November 9th through 11th the Coast Guard will be conducting dockside examinations in California ports preparing for the start of the Dungeness Crab season on November 15th.

The spot checks emphasize life saving equipment, pot loading practices and stability and vessel watertight integrity. Statistics from previous years indicate that as many as one third of the crab boats inspected had incorrectly installed EPIRBS and life rafts.

The Coast Guard hopes that the inspections can lead to immediate corrections and needless loss of lives. The West Coast Dungeness Crab fishery is one of the most deadly of all fisheries. Smaller vessels working in extreme weather put crewmen at serious risk for injury and death.

October 29, 2010

Puget Sound reopen for crabbing

Four areas around Puget Sound will soon be opened seven days a week for crabbing.

At 8 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 15, marine areas 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) and 12 (Hood Canal) will reopen for sport crabbing through Jan. 2, 2011. TheĀ Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) decided to reopen the four areas after determining that sufficient crab are available for harvest.

Crab fishing will also remain open seven days a week through Jan. 2 in marine areas 4 (Neah Bay), 5 (Sekiu), and 13 (south Puget Sound), where the fishery has continued uninterrupted since June 18.

Continue reading "Puget Sound reopen for crabbing" »

October 29, 2010

Court Finds in Favor of Fisherman

A King County Judge has ordered B&N Fisheries to reinstate an injured crewman's maintenance and care benefits.

The Court further ordered the company to authorize surgery for the crewman's elbow and to pay reasonable attorney fees in connection with the motion. B&N Fisheries moved to block the attorney fee award, arguing that only a jury can determine the amount of attorney fees due in a case involving the wrongful withholding of maintenance and care. The Court denied the motion and again affirmed the crewman's right to be compensated for attorney fees.

October 26, 2010

Shrimp boat capsizes; 1 dead

Mayport Coast Guard crews were off the coast of Amelia Island today, trying to determine if any pollution was caused by the Monday capsizing of a shrimp boat that killed a crew member.

As of Tuesday morning, the Coast Guard still had not identified the crewman, said Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Evanson of the Mayport Coast Guard station. The sunken vessel, the 36-foot Miss Alberta, is posing no hazard to navigation for other ships and boats, Evanson said. The shrimp boat's owner is responsible for removing the underwater wreckage, he said.

Shrimper Tony Malone, first mate aboard another shrimp boat, the Joe Bip, said his boat got a distress call about 3 p.m. Monday from the Miss Alberta, which was shrimping nearby, about a half mile from shore. Waves were about 5 feet offshore and winds were coming from the south at 17.5 mph and gusting at 21 mph, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's weather buoy off the coast of St. Augustine. Malone dove into the water to save the two-member crew. "The boat was already upside down," he said. He said he found the captain, who he and witnesses identified as Bo King of Mayport, swimming with his dead crew member tethered to him with a rope.

October 21, 2010

Change pinches commercial crabbers

New rules shift the balance of Puget Sound's annual crab take toward recreational fisherman.

"It's a very big deal," said Brian Allison, an Oak Harbor resident and president of the Puget Sound Crab Association. "It's basically the difference between a viable commercial industry and one that's not."

Yet those representing recreational interests see the change in a different light. They chalk up the new rules as not only a big win for the people of Washington, but one that is long overdue.

"It's definitely a step in the right direction," said Bryan Irwin, executive director for the Coastal Conservation Association's northwest region. "Arguably, it doesn't go far enough to give recreational fisherman their fair share but it was the best of the options and we are pleased with the decision."

On Oct. 1, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved policy changes that will eliminate current catch quotas for recreational crabbers and replace them with a fixed season that will run five days a week, from July to Labor Day, and seven days a week during the winter months, from October through December. A five-crab-a-day per person limit will be in effect for both seasons.

Miranda Wecker, chair of the nine-member commission, said the rule change has been coming for several years. Commercial fishermen have long received the bulk of the state's fixed crab quota and a spike in the number of recreational crabbers in recent years made it evident that it was time for a change.

October 15, 2010

Creosote release - investigation follows

The Coast Guard received a report on Oct. 5, 2010, from the Environmental Protection Agency of a manufactured gas plant coal tar creosote waste release in the mid-tidal zone of Sinclair Inlet in Bremerton.

The source is a subsurface concrete pipe coming from the old Bremerton Gasworks, a site where a coal-gasification plant operated from the 1930s into the 1950s. The pipe is leaking creosote into beach sediments and marine water, but the pipe's origin is unknown at this time. The EPA and Coast Guard are working together on an excavation plan to remove the pipe and contaminated soil from the beach and plug the pipe.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act fund has been opened and the Coast Guard has hired Ballard Diving and Salvage to contain and secure the release.

Continue reading "Creosote release - investigation follows" »

October 14, 2010

Navy to Avoid Another Oyster-Killing

U.S. Navy officials say they want to assure Hood Canal residents that steps have been taken to avoid a repeat of an incident linked to the destruction of thousands of oysters.

Hood Canal residents blamed the USS Port Royal, a 567-foot guided missile cruiser, for creating a wake that washed oysters high up on their beaches on Aug. 11.

Some oysters -- including those at Scenic Beach State Park -- were moved back down to the water by volunteers. But many more on both sides of Hood Canal perished in the heat of the summer sun, according to residents, including Vickie Veloni of Miami Beach near Seabeck.

Continue reading "Navy to Avoid Another Oyster-Killing" »