Tag Archives: U.S. Coast Guard

Celebrating the U.S. Coast Guard’s 228th Anniversary

“You can kick this old service around, tear it to pieces, scream from the house-tops that it is worthless, ought to be abolished or transferred to the Navy, have the people in it fighting among themselves and working at cross purposes and it bobs up serenely bigger and stronger than ever.” – Cmdr. Russell R. Waesche, Sr.  As the quote by World War II Commandant Russell Waesche indicates, the evolution of the United States Coast Guard provides a unique study in organizational history. This August (4th) marks the 228th birthday of an agency that has endured through the absorption of other agencies and their missions, personnel, offices and assets. In spite of multiple reorganizations and departmental transfers, the service has expanded in range and mission set.  >click to read<

U.S. Coast Guard investigates fishing vessel for knowingly discharging oil in Canadian waters

Investigators from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage and Marine Safety Detachment Dutch Harbor, and Coast Guard Investigative Service agents are investigating the fishing vessel Mark I for knowingly discharging oil overboard in Canadian waters. A Transport Canada aircrew detected the Mark I transiting through the Canadian exclusive economic zone 97-miles off of Cape St. James, British Columbia, with an approximate 26-mile oil sheen trailing behind, July 7. (photo credit vesselfinder.com)>click to read<11:12

U.S. Coast Guard: Hoax calls affect us all

“This is the fishing vessel SOL E MAR. This is a MAYDAY, we’re sinking, we need help now!” were the some of the last words of 19-year-old Billy Hokanson, as the fishing boat that he and his father, William was on sank to the bottom of the ocean on March 25, 1990. Coast Guard Stations Menemsha and Brad Point, both off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, received the distress call on marine radio channel 16 – distorted by heavy amounts of static. Both stations attempted to call the boat back, but did not get an answer. About a minute after Hakanson’s transmission, a separate call came through channel 16. “SOS, I’m sinking,” the caller said in playful tone with laughter.,, Five days after the call for help was made, William’s wife reported them overdue. >click to read<11:38

11 shark fins, dismembered sharks found aboard boat near South Sound Creek

The U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission personnel seized 11 shark fins and dismembered sharks Monday that were found aboard a 40-foot commercial fishing boat near South Sound Creek, Coast Guard officials announced Tuesday in a news release.  Authorities said an FWC officer first spotted the boat, dubbed Miss Shell, off South Sound Creek because of its improper display of navigation lights.  Authorities said they found 11 shark fins and dismembered sharks aboard the boat. The boat was then escorted to Port Largo. The catch was seized and handed over to NOAA officials Tuesday. >click to read<16:15

Search underway for crew of capsized tuna fishing boat off Palau

A search is underway for two Japanese and five Indonesian crew members after their fishing ship was found capsized about 400 kilometers (250 miles) from the Pacific island of Palau. Planes and ships from the U.S., Japan and Palau are taking part in the search for the Japanese-flagged Gyotoku Maru No. 1, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday. The 15-meter (50-foot) tuna fishing boat capsized southwest of Palau. click here to read the story 11:21

U.S. Coast Guard Issues New Jones Act Build Guidance

U.S. maritime laws generally referred to as the “Jones Act” restrict U.S. domestic commerce to “U.S.-built” vessels. Because the rules governing what constitutes “U.S.-built” are technical and esoteric, and the consequences of not meeting the standards can be financially catastrophic for the shipyard or vessel owner or both, the U.S. Coast Guard has a regulatory process where it provides advance guidance confirming that a prospective project satisfies the applicable criteria. On October 4, 2017, the Coast Guard issued build determinations for the two Kanaloa-class combination container and roll-on/roll-off vessels to be constructed by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO). These build determinations have taken on added importance because of the America’s Finest project. click here to read the story 15:04

Norton Sound: Arson ruled out, authorities trying to locate the owner

Authorities Thursday were still attempting to untangle a complicated web of ownership details linked to a fire-gutted boat that smoldered for several days over the weekend near Seaport Village in the San Diego Harbor, but investigators ruled out arson as the cause of the flames. What started the fire, which began Friday morning aboard the Norton Sound, was still undetermined Thursday, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokeswoman Monica Munoz said. The blaze was fully knocked down Sunday, but investigators were unable to probe its origins until mid-week. The next step in the clean-up effort will be to move the Norton Sound,,, But locating the owner has proven difficult. click here to read the story 15:04

U.S.-Built Trawler is Not Jones Act-Qualified

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued another letter ruling on U.S. built vessels with foreign-made components. The latest case involves a factory trawler named America’s Finest under construction in the state of Washington. Certain “cold-formed” steel plates were already installed as part of the hull and the cold-forming process was conducted overseas. A U.S. shipyard requested coastwise and fisheries trade status for the vessel, and was just denied by the U.S. Coast Guard. click here to read the story 08:17

State-of-the-art facility in Harris Harbor matches boat watcher’s growth

Captain Ed Page, the Executive Director of the Marine Exchange of Alaska, stood on the roof of their new $4-million facility on the edge of Harris Harbor.,, The private nonprofit has just moved in and started operations from their new location last week. MXAK monitors vessels — everything from huge cargo ships to fishing vessels and Native whaling boats — on more square miles of ocean than any organization of its kind in the world. It’s an area stretching from the Dixon Entrance to the Beaufort Sea. click here to read the story 18:01

A Global Fish War is Coming

Nearly two decades into the 21st Century, it has become clear the world has limited resources and the last area of expansion is the oceans. Battles over politics and ideologies may be supplanted by fights over resources as nations struggle for economic and food security. These new conflicts already have begun—over fish. The demand for fish as a protein source is increasing. The global population today is 7.5 billion people, and is expected to be 9.7 billion by 2050, with the largest growth coming in Africa and Asia. Fish consumption has increased from an average of 9.9 kilograms per person in the 1960s to 19.7 kilograms in 2013 with estimates for 2014 and 2015 above 20 kilograms. The ten most productive species are fully fished and demand continues to rise in regions generally with little governance and many disputed boundaries. click here to read the story 17:36

San Diego-Based USS Rushmore Departs on Fisheries Enforcement Mission

The San Diego-based amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore was steaming toward the South Pacific Tuesday to provide enforcement of fisheries around 10 island nations, according to the Navy.,, “Our crew is very excited to take part in the OMSI mission,” said Cmdr. John Ryan, commanding officer of Rushmore. “Working in tandem with the U.S. Coast Guard is a new experience for us, which will continue to demonstrate how the extensive range of U.S. Navy assets provides critical support to the embarked boarding teams in their mission of enforcing fishery laws.” click here to read the story 08:28

BREAKING: Dead man found on commercial fishing boat in Portsmouth

State Police report an untimely death aboard a commercial fishing boat tied to the dock at the Portsmouth Fish Co-Op on Peirce Island. On Saturday, August 12, around 11 a.m., N.H. State Police Marine Patrol received a report of a deceased male identified as Seth M. Caron, age 29, of Brunswick, Maine. The circumstances surrounding his death remain under investigation. Assisting agencies include the N.H. State Police, Portsmouth Police department, and the U.S. Coast Guard. link 12:48

F/V Destination – Hearings to begin on why Seattle-based crab boat sank with 6-man crew aboard

Two weeks of Coast Guard hearings into the sinking of the Seattle-based Destination begin Monday. They will put a spotlight on safety in the crab-boat fleet, and are expected to include testimony about the recent exploration of the sunken vessel by a remotely operated vehicle. The Destination sits on the bottom of the Bering Sea, listing heavily to its port side and still carrying roughly a third of the steel-framed pots the six-man crew planned to use in a winter crab harvest off Alaska. In two weeks of Seattle hearings that begin Monday, Coast Guard officers will hear testimony from the owner of the crab boat, former crew and other industry and government officials as they gather clues to what went so horribly wrong when the crew perished Feb. 11. click here to read the story to read the USCG notice click here with instructions for comment. click here for live stream of the proceedings. 09:29

Houston restaurateur Bruce Molzan accused of operating illegal seafood network

A well-known Houston restaurateur has been accused of operating an illegal seafood network that allegedly funneled nearly 28,000 pounds of unlawfully-caught finfish through his restaurants. Texas game wardens allege that Bruce Molzan, 59, bought and then sold the illegal finfish off the menus at Ruggles Green and Ruggles Black. Molzan hasn’t been associated with Ruggles Green since 2016 but still owns Ruggles Black. In addition, another restaurant illegally sold shrimp to Molzan for use in his restaurants in violation of commercial fish wholesale regulations, according to investigators.  The illegal catches were made by a web of about a dozen unlicensed commercial fishermen and sold to the restaurants, according to Texas Parks & Wildlife investigators. Their catches consisted primarily of highly-regulated red snapper, along with other protected game fish species, including tuna, amberjack, grouper and red drum. click here to read the story 17:08

Captain of Fishing Vessel Pleads Guilty for Discharging Waste into the Ocean

A captain of the fishing vessel (F/V) Native Sun pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Seattle, Washington, for discharging oily-waste directly into the ocean in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and the federal conspiracy statute. Randall Fox pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Lasnik of the Western District of Washington to two criminal felony counts for violating APPS’ prohibition against discharging oily-wastes, namely machinery-space bilge water, directly into the ocean. According to court documents, Randall Fox, and other co-conspirators, repeatedly discharged the oil-contaminated bilge water into the ocean using unapproved submersible pumps and hoses. On at least one occasion, such a discharge left a sizable oily-sheen along the surface of the water that trailed alongside the F/V Native Sun. Trial for vessel owner Bingham Fox is currently set to begin March 21, 2017. Read the rest here  15:38

81 False killer whales die off South Florida coast

81 false killer whales have died after stranding themselves off the South Florida coast. NOAA announced the grim news on Monday afternoon. NOAA initially reported that 95 false killer whales were stranded in South Florida. Then on Monday afternoon, NOAA Fish Southeast tweeted that 81 whales had died and also said the whales were at a remote location off of Hog Key in the Everglades. One whale was seen alive on Monday and 13 others are unaccounted for, NOAA Fish Southeast said on Twitter on Monday afternoon. The National Park Service has closed the area around the whale stranding location. The National Park Service is asking that aircraft not fly over the area and that boats stay away from the area. Read the rest here 15:14

Princess Cruise Lines To Pay Largest-Ever Criminal Penalty For Deliberate Vessel Pollution

caribbean-princessPrincess Cruise Lines Ltd. (Princess) has agreed to plead guilty to seven felony charges stemming from its deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up. Princess will pay a $40 million penalty– the largest-ever criminal penalty involving deliberate vessel pollution – and plead guilty to charges related to illegal dumping of oil contaminated waste from the Caribbean Princess cruise ship. The U.S. investigation was initiated after information was provided to the U.S. Coast Guard by the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) indicating that a newly hired engineer on the Caribbean Princess reported that a so-called “magic pipe” had been used on Aug. 23, 2013, to illegally discharge oily waste off the coast of England. The whistleblowing engineer quit his position when the ship reached Southampton, England. The chief engineer and senior first engineer ordered a cover-up, including removal of the magic pipe and directing subordinates to lie. Read the story here 17:42

North Carolina Commercial Fisherman Pleads Guilty to Illegally Harvesting and Selling Atlantic Striped Bass

The department-of-justice-logoannounced that today in federal court, James Ralph Craddock, 71, of Manns Harbor, pleaded guilty to federal charges regarding the illegal harvest and sale of Atlantic Striped Bass from federal waters off the coast of North Carolina in 2010. According to information in the public record, in February 2010, a Special Agent with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) received information that commercial trawlers were illegally fishing for Atlantic Striped Bass in federal waters off the coast of North Carolina. A single patrol vessel in the area intercepted one of 17 commercial trawlers in the EEZ, the fishing vessel Lady Samaira, boarded the vessel and found 173 Atlantic Striped Bass.  The captain later admitted to taking the fish from the EEZ. Given the other commercial trawlers in the same area, NOAA conducted an analysis of electronic data and written reports from those vessels.  Based on its review, NOAA determined that during the North Carolina 20-day ocean trawl season in January/February 2010, Craddock, then Captain of the 74-foot commercial fishing vessel Capt Ralph, harvested over 12,000 pounds of Atlantic Striped Bass. Read the rest here 19:50

NTSB Assesses U.S. Coast Guard’s Vessel Traffic Service System

uscg-vtsA safety study released Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board details 14 conclusions and 21 recommendations aimed at further reducing the risk of collisions, allisions, and groundings involving vessels operating within U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service areas. The study, “An Assessment of the Effectiveness of the U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service System” (NTSB/SS-16/01), focused on the performance of the Coast Guard’s VTS system, currently comprised of 12 VTS centers. The need for the study was driven by the investigation of six major commercial vessel accidents since the Coast Guard’s 2009 implementation of its “Vessel Traffic Service National Standard Operating Procedures Manual.” Information provided by the Coast Guard indicates collisions, allisions and groundings within VTS areas between 2010 and 2014 resulted in two fatalities, 179 injuries and more than $69 million in damage to vessels, facilities, infrastructure and the environment. Read the story here 11:07

Officials are calling off the search for the fishing vessel Alaska Juris.

360x255_q75The U.S. Coast Guard released a statement Saturday saying it’s believed that the ship sank in approximately 5,400 feet of water. A problem in the engine room Tuesday led to flooding on board the Alaska Juris, forcing the crew to abandon ship. All 46 crew members were rescued by good Samaritan ships, and there were no injuries. The Coast Guard, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Fishing Company of Alaska coordinated a search of the area northwest of Adak, Alaska, where the fishing vessel Alaska Juris was last seen. There was no sign of the ship. Unrecoverable diesel sheen was located in the search area believed to be from the Alaska Juris. The cause of the fishing vessel Alaska Juris sinking is under investigation. Link 03:15

2 fishermen lost at sea saved by cooler

Two fishermen survived two days at sea thanks to their trusty cooler. Michael Watkins and Raymond Jacik went missing in Galveston Bay on Monday morning after embarking on what was supposed to be a five-hour fishing trip, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The men said their 20-foot fishing boat started taking on water and a rogue wave capsized the vessel before they could even put on life jackets. “I had no time to grab anything. Nothing. No keys, no wallet, no phone,” . Read the rest here  17:44

Hey, Let’s Use a Helicopter as a Tugboat!

It’s possible that in 1958, the crew aboard the U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender Juniper were crouching, fearing the thin steel cable pulling them through the water at 15 mph might break, snap back, and, like a scythe, cut them in half. Yet it’s likely they were also gawking at what was providing their forward propulsion. On the other end of the cable, 300 feet ahead and 30 feet up, was a bright yellow Coast Guard helicopter, the bird in Project Tugbird. In November 1951, the Coast Guard began receiving the new Sikorsky HO4S helicopter. Equipped with a winch, a rescue basket, and a roomy passenger compartment, it was ideal for search and rescue. By early 1958, 30 were stationed at U.S. coastal cities. Along the way, someone thought it might be a good idea to use the helicopter for towing vessels—fishing, pleasure, and other types—out of harm’s way. Read the rest here 20:14

Federal agents raid Carlos Seafood on New Bedford waterfront

AR-160229553.jpg&MaxW=315&MaxH=315Federal agents raided one of the best-known seafood wholesalers on the waterfront Friday morning, searching the business and removing documents. A reporter on site at Carlos Seafood Inc. on South Front Street said federal agents, including from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Coast Guard, were conducting a search inside the building. Agents also searched a pickup truck parked in front of the building, removing a box full of papers, as well as a briefcase, according to a reporter. Read the rest here 12:31

WAIT!! That Coast Guard boats under 36 feet life raft rule that has you runnin’ like a fool? Its on hold!

life raft largeNew life raft regulations for fishing boats no longer required – Less than two weeks ago, U.S. Coast Guard officials were in Petersburg explaining new safety requirements announced in January: that fishing boats under 36 feet would have to carry life rafts if traveling more than three miles off shore. The law was supposed to take effect Feb. 26. Also, larger boats over 36 feet needed to upgrade their life rings or floats to life rafts by Nov. 1. But all that’s changed. “It’s all been put on hold,” said Steve Ramp, Commercial Fishing Vessel Examiner for the Coast Guard based in Sitka. He said Congress decided to repeal the change in safety requirements earlier this month. Read the rest here 19:59

In the Gulf – Effects of Illegal Fishing on Local Fishing Industry

9728207_GOver 1,000 pounds of red snapper were seized from a lancha by the U.S. Coast Guard. There were 4 Mexican nationals aboard the boat. They were taken to the U.S. Coast Guard at the island. A charter fisherman said when people fish illegally his profits take a big hit. It can also drain a fishing spot. “Everything changed. We didn’t catch anything in that area, nothing. We didn’t even mark anything on our fish finder. It was absolutely zero,” Michael Walker said. Walker takes people out to fish. If there are no fish to catch, it can result in the loss of a customer. Read the rest here 09:19

‘We don’t leave our friends behind’

The story is as chilling as it is all too familiar here in America’s oldest fishing village, where for centuries fishermen, in pursuit of the ocean’s bounty, have fallen prey to nature’s full force and elements that inexorably overwhelm all that is human. On Thursday, in the rushing darkness of a winter twilight, the three-man crew of the 51-foot Orin C went into the water and only two emerged safely onto the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard’s 47-foot lifesaving boat out of Station Gloucester. David Sutherland, 47, of 10 Montvale Ave. — known to all along the waterfront as Heavy D — died in the water as the Coast Guard tried to rescue him after his slime eel boat sunk about 12 miles off Thacher Island. Read the article here 07:40

Fish cops issue striped bass warning

striped_bassFederal fishing officials are warning anglers and commercial fishermen it is illegal to catch striped bass in waters outside three miles. The ban on catching stripers is in an area called the “Exclusive Economic Zone,” or EEZ, which runs from 3 to 200 miles offshore and is under federal jurisdiction. The ban, which dates back to 1990, is not in place in state waters that are inside three miles. In recent years the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement has teamed up with the U.S. Coast Guard and state agencies to,,, Read the article here 15:12

Senators write in support of Newport, Charlestown Coast Guard helicopter bases

MH-65C_DolphinU.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have urged the Office of Management and Budget to include funding for U.S. Coast Guard helicopter bases in Newport and in Charleston, South Carolina, in the Coast Guard’s budget. The Coast Guard had sought to close the helicopter bases last year in a cost-saving move, but several lawmakers, arguing that the bases provide critical search and rescue operations, stepped in to get Congress to keep the bases open. Read the rest here 13:50

USCG focuses on crab fishing safety

carouselAs Dungeness crab fishing is the most deadly of all West Coast commercial fisheries, U.S. Coast Guard fishing vessel safety experts will be visiting Northern California fishing ports in early November ahead of the fishing season, to help reduce the number of deaths, injuries and accidents. The season is scheduled to begin at midnight on 14 November for the central coast (Avila-Morro Bay to the mouth of the Russian River) and 1 December for the northern coast (Russian River to the Oregon border). Coast Guard personnel will be on the docks in ports from Monterey to Crescent City on 3-5 November to help identify and mitigate safety hazards in the crab fleet.  Read the rest here 08:51

New commercial fishing rules take effect

U.S. Coast Guard planes and ships are circling the Pacific right now, enforcing brand new rules for commercial fishing. The West Coast’s fisheries are some of the most dangerous in the country, but the number one cause of death isn’t falling overboard. “About 65% of the time, of all the fatalities that happened, the vessel would actually sink,” Dan Hardin said. Hardin overseas commercial fishing vessel safety for the Coast Guard’s Northwest region. Unprepared vessels can end up capsizing, which doesn’t just endanger human life. Read the rest here 08:04