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May 2010 Archives

Crab Boat Deckhand From TV's Deadliest Catch Pleads Guilty to Three Bank Robberies

A 23 year old crab boat deckhand who appeared on the Deadliest Catch television series has pled guilty to three bank robberies in Eugene, Oregon. Joshua Tel Warner worked on the Alaska crab boat WIZARD, which is featured on the Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch. Warner's appearance on the show led viewers to identify him as the person who committed the Oregon bank robberies. During the robberies which occurred in 2007 and 2009,Warner passed the bank tellers notes threaten to kill them if they did not give him money. Warner will serve 9 1/2 years in jail for the robberies.

Trident Seafoods Contractual Venue Clause For Injury Suits Held To Be Unenforceable

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California has refused Seattle-based Trident Seafoods' motion to dismiss an injured Jones Act seaman's claim from its District Court in California. Trident sought to dismiss the case based upon improper venue. Trident's employment contract for its fishing crewmen and fish processors contains a forum selection clause requiring all injury claims lawsuits to be filed in Federal or State Court in Seattle, Washington.

Jones Act Employer Owes Crewman Duty to Inspect Third Party's Vessel To Insure Crewman Safe Place to Work

Maritime Law is well settled that a Jones Act employer has an absolute non-delegable duty to furnish the seaman in its employ with a safe place in which to work. The law is also well settled that this duty includes a duty to inspect third party property for hazards and to protect the employee from possible defects in a ship owned by another. In other words, a Jones Act employer has the duty to inspect the third-party ships to which it sends its employees to work on. If, by a reasonable inspection, the employer could have discovered the unsafe condition, then the employer will be charged with notice of that condition. The employer can protect itself from liability by simply refusing to allow its employee from working on a ship owned by another.

Crewman Suffers Neck and Back Injuries in Fall in Hold of Alaska Cargo Ship

The Coast Guard has airlifted a crewman from the ALASKA PACKER in Togiak Bay approximately 300 miles northwest of Kodiak. The crewman, Brian Scarllila, fell approximately 10 feet into the hold of the cargo ship MARIANNE. Scarllila was transferred to the ALASKA PACKER to be seen by the vessel's medical officer. The ALASKA PACKER contacted the Coast Guard for assistance for Scarllila, who reportedly was suffering from shoulder, neck, wrist and back injuries. Scarllila is reportedly a Filipino national who was working aboard the MARIANNE.

Four Alaska Crewmen Rescued from Sinking Fishing Boat

Four crewmen abandoned their 47-foot longliner fishing vessel as it began to sink on Wednesday. The accident happened near Montague Island located near the entrance to Prince William Sound. The crewmen radioed the Coast Guard for help, donned survival suits and abandoned ship into a life raft before being airlifted to safety by a Coast Guard helicopter. The vessel, CAPE SPENCER, is home ported in Kodiak, Alaska, and is a total loss after completely sinking. The cause of the sinking is unknown at this time but will be the subject of further Coast Guard investigation. This accident is another in a long line of Alaska Fishing Vessel sinkings in the last two years. New proposed safety regulations regarding fishing vessels such as the CAPE SPENCER are currently pending before Congress.


May 12, 2010 - In a plea deal, Erin Rieman plead guilty to one count of first degree manslaughter for the beating death of John Adkins. The crime occurred on July 5, 2009, in the Port of Ilwaco aboard the fishing vessel TIGER. After a bout of drinking, Rieman allegedly beat and chocked Adkins to death with an electrical cord. Rieman then wrapped Adkins' body with fishing weights and dumped it at sea. Adkins was an owner of the TIGER and had hired Rieman to Captain the boat because of Adkins' lack of experience. Reiman faces up to 11 years in jail based upon sentencing guidelines.

American Seafoods Refinances Alaska Fishing Fleet - Buyout Alters Relationship With Coastal Villages Region Fund

American Seafoods, an Alaska fishing company, yesterday announced a major refinancing of its company. Coast Villages Region Fund had a 46% ownership interest in American Seafoods. As part of the refinancing of American Seafoods, the Coastal Villages Region Fund has been bought out. As part of the agreement, Coastal Villages Region Fund will receive the 341-foot pollock catcher processor NORTHERN HAWK and its fishing rights. It will also receive the freezer longliner vessels LILLI ANN, NORTH CAPE and DEEP PACIFIC. The deal involving an estimated $750 million dollars in financing is being backed by Bank of America.

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