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October 2011 Archives

Fishermen Survive Boat Sinking In Columbia River

Three recreational crab fishermen survived the sinking of their 16-foot boat near the mouth of the Columbia River. Reports indicate the fishermen's 16-foot capsized on Friday. The three fishermen were able to swim to Sand Island, a small island near the mouth of the Columbia River. The crewmen spent the night on the uninhabited island before being rescued by the Coast Guard. The waters at mouth of the Columbia River and Sand Island can be extremely dangerous at maximum flood and ebb tides. It is imperative that life jackets and emergency communication devices and signals be carried by all boaters in these waters. No further details of the accident were provided in initial reports.

Three Fishermen Survive Fishing Vessel Sinking Near Coos Bay

Three fishermen survived the sinking of the 50-foot fishing vessel NEW YORK last Sunday. The vessel reported taking on water shortly before grounding in the surf just north of the Coos Bay entrance. Attempts to airlift the crew from the vessel proved to be impossible because of surf conditions. The three crewmen were able to swim through the heavy surf to shore, where they were met by rescuers. Before salvage operations could be undertaken to save the vessel, it broke apart in the surf. The cause of the accident is unknown. There were no crewmen injuries noted in initial reports.

Coast Guard Assists Sinking Fishing Vessel Near Grays Harbor

The Coast Guard delivered dewatering pumps to the MICHAEL LISA, a 50-foot fishing vessel taking on water 23 miles west of Grays Harbor Wednesday. Two Coast Guard Motor life boats and a MH-60 Jay Hawk helicopter assisted in saving the vessel, which they were able to tow to Westport, Washington for inspection and repairs. No crewmen were reported injured in the incident. Original reports provided no information as to the cause of the vessel flooding.

Fishing Vessel ALASKAN LEADER Catches Fire In Bering Sea

Thursday a major engine room fire was reported aboard the 137-foot ALASKAN LEADER. The ALASKAN LEADER is one of the largest longline vessels in the Bering Sea fleet. The 23 member crew of the Alaska long lining vessel was able to contain the fire. The Coast Guard Cutter was sent to the scene to help the stricken vessel and is now escorting the Alaska Leader to Dutch Harbor. The vessel was approximately 100 miles northwest of Unimak Pass in the Bering Sea when the fire broke out. There were no reported injuries in the incident. The vessel was able to retain power in one of its two engines, and was able to navigate under restricted conditions. Investigators for the Coast Guard will meet the vessel in Dutch Harbor to investigate the cause of the fire.


The ALASKA VICTORY, a 205 foot factory trawler, was adrift Saturday in the Bering Sea 10 miles west of Akutan.  The vessel is owned by Seattle based Fishing Company of Alaska and has a 49 man crew aboard.  The vessel was in no immediate danger and was drifting at one knot per hour.  A Magone Marine tug has been dispatched from Dutch Harbor to assist the fishing vessel that was reportedly suffering from mechanical failure. 

Alaska Fisherman Suffers Severe Ankle Injury Aboard F/V TANUSHA

A 44 year old crewman was airlifted from the 57-foot F/V TANUSHA on Friday. The accident happened 25 miles north of Kodiak, and the seriousness of the injury required medical evacuation by Coast Guard helicopter. The crewman reportedly suffered the injury when his foot became tangled with a line on deck. The injured man was taken to Kodiak Medical Center for evaluation and treatment.

Maritime Employer Must Pay Punitive Damages For Wrongful Treatment of Seamen

In a case now pending in the Washington State Supreme Court, steps are being taken to ensure all seamen get their right of maintenance and cure and those who deny it are punished. The monumental case is Clausen v. Icicle Seafoods, Inc., where a fisherman was denied maintenance and cure even though he was injured while in the service of a vessel. Maintenance and cure are traditional remedies under maritime law. "Maintenance" is the daily payment to cover certain living expenses expected while on a vessel; "cure" refers to the payment of certain medical bills. They are designed to provide a seaman with food, lodging and medical care when one becomes sick or injured in the vessel's service. The OSCEOLA, 189 U.S. 158, 175, 23 S. Ct. 483, 47 L. Ed. 760 (1903); Vaughan v. Atkinson, 369 U.S. 527, 532, 82 S. Ct. 997, 8 L. Ed. 2d 88 (1962). Maintenance and cure are no-fault obligations employers must fulfill so long as the injury occurred while in the ship's service and until the seaman reaches maximum cure. West v. Midland Enters., 227 F.3d 613, 616 (6th Cir. 2000), Gardiner v. Sea-Land Serv., Inc., 786 F. 2d 943, 945-46 (9th Cir. 1986).

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