Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lawsuit filed over clam digger deaths

A federal lawsuit has been filed against Frank Dulcich, president of West Coast processing giant Pacific Seafood Group, in connection with the deaths of five contract clam diggers in Alaska.

The five died after their 22-foot aluminum skiff went down in Cook Inlet on May 17, 2011.


Anonymous said...

This tragedy, along with the two commercial fishermen who died in a skiff accident off Yakutat and another commercial skiff fisherman near Goodnews Bay, resulted in the deaths of eight fishermen during a two-month period last summer. Operating a skiff in a remote area presents two hazards which the Coast Guard has great concern for: the need for appropriate flotation protection, and the ability to communicate distress.

The regs in 46 CFR Part 28 require a properly sized CG-approved immersion suit per person for nearly all the coldwater areas around the State of Alaska. If a skiff operator does not feel that an immersion suit is an appropriate lifesaving device for a skiff operation, an exemption request can be made to the Coast Guard, provided that there is good cause and that the safety of the vessel and those onboard will not be adversely affected. Certain specific exemptions have already been issued to classes of skiffs used to fish commercially, requiring among other things, that all persons on the skiff wear a CG-approved PFD at all times, and that at least one person carries a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) attached to his PFD.

I encourage all commercial skiff fishermen (whether setnetting, driftnetting, handlining, or engaged in other fishing activity) to contact the Coast Guard. Working together, some of the risks involved can be mitigated and tragic casualties avoided in the future.

Ken Lawrenson
USCG District 17 (Juneau)
Commercial FV Safety Coordinator
907 463-2810

Anonymous said...

I've seen charter boats fishing 10 or more miles off shore in foul weather with minimal safety gear.Seems like a disaster and law suit waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

We send dumb ass green horns to
the Bering Sea under the protection of a seasoned, experienced Captain
and deck boss. To throw green
inexperienced workers on a skiff
into the North Pacific without
even a radio is negligent and
shameful. The readers on this blog
are a representation of the fleet,
would you allow your son to sign
up with these guys?

Anonymous said...

Sending what was essentially a "cannery crew" out to clam dig at a remote camp with skiffs in Cook Inlet tides and weather is irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the skiff be considered a tender in this case.They loaded and unloaded shellfish and used it as a mode of transporting the product.
I wonder if they had crew licenses?