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SURVIVING CREWMEN FROM THE ALASKA RANGER REACH SETTLEMENT OF THEIR CLAIMS


Eleven crewmen who survived the sinking of the Alaska Ranger have recently settled their claims against the owners of the vessel, the Fishing Company of Alaska. The eleven crew members represented by the maritime law firm of Stacey Trueb and Jacobsen, reached out-of-court settlements with their employer and owner of the vessel, ending what may have been a series of trials and appeals over the cause of the sinking. The settlement amounts obtained for the crewmen were agreed to be held confidential, however, the settlements involve multi-millions of dollars in total compensations. Attorney James Jacobsen, who represented eleven of the surviving crewmen, reported that the settlements for their clients were very fair given the particular circumstances of the case. The crewmen, together with Fishing Company of Alaska and their insurance carriers, engaged in prolonged negotiations utilizing a Federal Mediator to reach an early compromise of the claims, avoiding costly and prolonged litigation. The attorneys are optimistic that the crewmen's settlements will allow the crewmen to get the continued medical and psychological treatment and support they need and to begin to try to bring closure to this horrifying and tragic maritime accident. The firm has also reached a confidential wrongful death settlement for the family of one of the deceased crewmen of the Alaska Ranger.

When the Alaska Ranger sank on March 23, 2008, the crew of the Alaska Ranger all donned survival suits before abandoning ship. Several of the ship's survival craft were lost when they were deployed, and only a few of the crewmen were able to reach the survival rafts. The remaining crewmen floated alone, or in groups, fighting for their lives in towering waves and freezing waters for 4-5 hours before being miraculously rescued by the United States Coast Guard. The freezing waters and leaking survival suits pushed many of the crewmen to the edge of death before their rescue. Of the 47 crewmen aboard he Alaska Ranger, 42 survived and 5 perished, including the vessel's captain and Japanese fish master.

Under Federal maritime law, called the Jones Act, crewmen and processors on vessels such as the Alaska Ranger who go through near death experiences and severe emotional distress, are entitled to seek compensation for the anxiety and fear of death, any physical damages, and for psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress, anxiety disorders, and depression. It is common for crewmen who survive a vessel sinking to experience psychological symptoms following such an accident. In such cases, it is important for treatment that the crewmen get psychological counseling as soon as possible following the accident. Treatment for these psychological injuries may lessen the symptoms, but post-traumatic stress is not curable and may be lighted up by stressful events in the future, causing flashbacks and depression. Similarly, a major incident of depression makes it twice is likely to have a major depressive episode in the future.

Only a few crewmen's claims relating to the Alaska Ranger sinking remain to be settled or tried. Stacey Trueb and Jacobsen continue to represent one surviving crewman. The Coast Guard Casualty investigation into the cause of the Alaska Ranger sinking is continuing. The Casualty Investigation Report is anticipated to be released sometime this summer.

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Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC
4039 21st Avenue West
Suite 401
Seattle, WA 98199

Toll Free: 866-974-9633
Phone: 206-452-1282
Fax: 206-282-1149
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