A leaking pipe may have started Alaska Juris demise

Flashlight in hand, a stunned Chief Engineer Eddie Hernandez peered into the darkness to survey the swamped engine room of the Alaska Juris. The cold seawater was waist-deep, and more was bubbling up from a leak, possibly from a busted pipe on the starboard side of the factory trawler. “I wasn’t afraid or anything. I just felt helpless,”  Hernandez was a key witness for Coast Guard officials seeking to unravel the mystery of the Alaska Juris’ demise on a calm, summer day. Officials also are investigating the tangled operations of the vessel’s owner, Fishing Company of Alaska, which teams with a Japanese fish buyer and still operates three factory trawlers whose large crews in remote North Pacific locations net, process and freeze the catch. The hearings offered a gritty look at conditions aboard the vessel, which had benefitted from millions of dollars in investments in maintenance — yet still appeared so unsafe, one engineer said, that he quit this year after spending just a day at port. “The biggest thing that was bugging me was that if I take this job, I’m going to have to lie to my wife and kids about the condition of this boat,” said Carl Lee Jones Read the story here 22:34

Accusations fly at hearing into Alaska Juris sinking

alaskajurisuscgA Coast Guard hearing into the July sinking of the Alaska Juris took a volatile turn on Thursday as a marine contractor once charged with shore repairs alleged that misconduct by some Japanese crew contributed to safety problems. Herb Roeser, owner of Seattle-based Trans-Marine Propulsion Systems, alleged in his testimony that Masashi Yamada, a Japanese entrepreneur with wide-ranging business holdings, wielded behind-the-scenes control of the factory ship’s owner, Renton-based Fishing Company of Alaska. Roeser said Japanese crews working for one of Yamada’s businesses, Anyo Fisheries, “basically ran” the Alaska Juris. Over the years, Roeser said, the Alaska Juris had been weakened by not only age but also improper modifications ordered by Japanese crew and their rough fishing tactics that slammed metal trawl gear — known as doors — against the stern of the vessel and contributed to cracks. Roeser testified that when he stopped working for the company in 2011, he told the U.S. owner, the late Karena Adler, that “you need to put that ship in the scrap yard because nothing good is going to come of it.” Read the rest here 16:11

Mystery surrounds alarm failure on sunken Alaska Juris, a siren that could “wake the dead”

alaska%20juris-image2-jpgWhen water first began flooding into the Alaska Juris on July 26, a network of bilge alarms should have unleashed a cacophony of sound to alert the crew that something was wrong. “The siren can wake the dead. Anywhere on the vessel you can hear the alarm,” said Ben Eche, an electrician who did shore-side work on that alert system, in testimony Tuesday during Coast Guard hearings in Seattle into the sinking of the vessel. All 46 crew members survived. But crew testified the alarm did not go off, a troubling development that prompted Coast Guard officials to question Eche about how the system operated. Eche said he had tested the alarm system while the Alaska Juris was in port, and it worked properly. Read the story here, and watch the proceedings here 11:36

Crewman tells of harrowing escape from sinking Alaska Juris

alaska%20juris-image2-jpgThe evacuation and rescue of the crew of 46 from the sinking Alaska Juris was accomplished without any deaths or serious injuries. But crewman Aaron Hell experienced tense moments as he briefly fell into the chill Bering Sea while trying to climb down a ladder along the side of the sinking vessel and board a life raft. During afternoon testimony, Hell described a multinational crew aboard the Alaska Juris that included Japanese, Mexicans and recruits from African nations. He said they all had to find a way to work together to enable operation of the Alaska Juris, an aging vessel built in the 1970s that motors off to remote locations to catch, process and freeze fish. Read the story here 08:27

Coast Guard Investigation Hearing, F/V Alaska Juris – Listen Live!

alaskajurisuscgThe U.S. Coast Guard on Monday kicked off a public hearing on its investigation into the abandoning and sinking of the fishing vessel Alaska Juris off the coast of Alaska earlier this year. The 10-day Formal Marine Investigation is open to the public and is taking place at the Henry Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, Washington. The intent of the hearing is to interview witnesses and gather information about the cause of the sinking of the fishing/processor vessel Alaska Juris in the Bering Sea on July 26, 2016. The vessel is believed to have sank in approximately 5,400 feet of water after the crew abandoned ship about 690 miles west of Dutch Harbor Alaska. Listen to Live Proceedings here 18:19