MARITIME CASUALTY - WHAT WENT WRONG AND WHY

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Articles Posted in Crabbers

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. The 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.
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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.

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.

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.

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.
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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.
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Coast Guard and Alaska Department of Fish and Game are administering voluntary safety checks to 74 Alaska crab boats registered for the Bristol Bay Red King Crab season. The dockside exams in Kodiak and Dutch Harbor will begin on September 27 and are designed to ensure that the vessel’s safety equipment is current and in good working order. The focus of the exam is on life rafts, survival suits, and EPIRBs.

Crab boats participating in the Alaska Red King Crab season leaving port with crab pots aboard must notify the Coast Guard 24 hours prior to departure from port and provide them with the following information: (1) the name and official number of the boat; ( 2) the name of the person making the report; (3) number of crab pots aboard and the number of crab pots permitted by the vessel’s stability report; (4) the expected time of departure. The number of crab pots a boat is permitted to carry varies, depending on the amount of fuel aboard a vessel and the manner in which the vessel is tanked. All crab boats should be sure to test their high and low water alarms in all unmanned compartments. Unintentional flooding of the lazarette has been cited as the cause of multiple crab boat sinkings in Alaska.

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