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Seattle Maritime Law Blog

Coos Bay fishermen rescued from sinking vessel

The captain of the Oregon commercial fishing vessel New Faith didn’t know where his boat was taking on water from, but he knew he needed help – and as soon as possible.

“I think I’m sinking,” he said in a mayday call to the Coast Guard Sector North Bend early last Saturday morning. “I need pumps fast.”

Two rescued, two missing from capsized fishing vessel near Kodiak

After more than 35 hours of searching, rescue crews called off the search for the remaining two people who went overboard when a fishing vessel capsized last week in Marmot Bay, between Kodiak Island and Afognak Island.

The captain of the purse seiner F/V Miss Destinee radioed for help early last Thursday morning, reporting that a large wave had caused the vessel to capsize. A Good Samaritan vessel crew saved the captain and one other crew member. However, the two other people on board the Miss Destinee – a man and a woman – have still not been found.

Three survive after Connecticut fishing boat capsizes

Late at night on June 22, a fishing vessel capsized in New Haven Harbor, sending three people overboard. Although only two of the three were wearing life jackets, all were able to swim to a breakwater wall in the harbor, where one of them called 911 to report what had happened.

A Coast Guard rescue boat responded to the call and rescued all three people, none of whom reported any injuries or requested medical care. It appears that a series of large waves caused the 22-foot boat to capsize.

Take it from the one-eyed skipper: improving deck safety is a worldwide challenge

The veteran skipper was winching up his vessel's anchor when a longline snapped. Within seconds, the line tore across the front of his face, inflicting such severe damage that he ended up losing an eye.

This 2012 accident, to a man from New Zealand, is only one example of how injuries from dangerous equipment remain all too common in the commercial fishing industry, both in the U.S. and around the world.

Tragedy on the Copper River during salmon opener

As commercial salmon fishing opened on the Copper River flats at the end of May, rough weather led to tragedy when a longtime fisherman based in Cordova fell overboard from his 29-foot gillnetter.

According the Alaska Dispatch News, 69-year-old Clifford Johns was fishing alone during the opener May 26. After receiving reports about a boat circling in the Copper River flats with nobody at the helm, a Coast Guard helicopter crew spotted a body in the water.

Text messages are vital clues in investigation of tugboat sinking

A recent report from the National Transportation Safety Board provides insight into last year’s fatal tugboat sinking in the Hudson River. The tugboat Specialist collided into a construction barge near the Tappen Zee Bridge near Tarrytown, New York, in March 2016. The boat sank - and all three crewmembers on board were lost - before anyone could respond.

A new NTSB report concludes that the accident was most likely caused by fatigued crewmembers. How did investigators determine this? In this case, some of the biggest clues came from text messages between crew members and loved ones.

One crew member still missing after Louisiana tug sinking

A Good Samaritan vessel rescued three people after their tug boat sank off the coast of Louisiana early in the morning on Memorial Day. The Coast Guard and others are still looking for one crew member of the tug vessel Crosby Commander who did not abandon ship onto a life raft along with the others.

Multiple Coast Guard vessel and aircraft crews, as well as several Good Samaritan crews, were still searching for the missing person as of Monday afternoon, according to a Coast Guard report. The tug sank about 30 nautical miles south of Marsh Island, an uninhabited island off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. The tug boat crew contacted the Coast Guard Sector New Orleans around 5 a.m., reporting that the tug had started to take on water.

The Destination investigation: 4 FAQs on what's coming up

The crabbing community continues to mourn the tragic deaths of six fishermen aboard the F/V Destination last winter in the Bering Sea. The vessel was lost a few miles off St. George Island on February 11.

The Coast Guard has begun an investigation into what exactly happened to the crab boat and its crew. In this post, we will update you on where that investigation stands.

Father of drowned fisherman urges safety for others

Don’t set foot on a fishing boat without a knife, and make sure it’s tethered to you. The father of a drowned conch fisherman wants others to hear this message, in the hopes that it will help prevent tragedies like the one his family experienced last summer.

The Marthas Vineyard Times recently interviewed John Gurney, whose son Luke drowned after getting caught in a trawl line last June. Gurney’s new mission is to spread a simple message he thinks could save lives: make sure you have a tethered knife on you at all times, and be prepared to use it during an emergency. He recently spoke to local commercial fishermen at a safety training event and hopes to reach both commercial and recreational fishermen.

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