Saturday, May 21, 2016

Starbound update

We still know very little about a death that occurred a week ago aboard the factory trawler Starbound.

The vessel was moored in Seattle at the time of what is believed to have been a workplace accident.

The Starbound recently had undergone extensive modification at a shipyard in Anacortes. The work included stretching the vessel to bring its length overall to about 300 feet.

The Starbound is among the largest fishing vessels working off Alaska, harvesting pollock in the Bering Sea.

An attorney for Starbound LLC told Deckboss on Friday that a crewmember was "found unresponsive" in or around the engine room of the vessel last Saturday evening.

The attorney wouldn't discuss the circumstances of the death. He said he was not at liberty to provide the victim's name or age.

The company is cooperating with local authorities and with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard, which are investigating, the attorney said.

We've been unable to collect any useful information thus far from OSHA or the Coast Guard.

Ownership of the vessel is complex.

One minority owner is APICDA, the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association. Based in Juneau, the association holds rights under the federal community development quota (CDQ) program to harvest pollock on behalf of Western Alaska villages.

APICDA's latest annual report offers this description of Starbound LLC:


APICDA Joint Ventures owns 20% of this pollock trawl catcher processor. Other partners include Aleutian Spray Fisheries (65%), Barry Ohai (10%) and Karl Bratvold (5%). Aleutian Spray serves as the managing partner. This vessel harvests and processes approximately 80% of APICDA's pollock CDQ quota.

According to its website, Aleutian Spray is a family business established in 1969 by Henry Swasand.

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