In the early morning hours on July 3, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued three crab fishermen when the F/V SOUND LEADER sank off the coast of Oregon. Coast Guard crews searched for a missing fourth person until about 1:15 p.m., when the search was called off “due to the impossibility of survival resulting from the amount of time . . . in the water.” The cause of the accident was not immediately known.
According to Coast Guard reports, an EPIRB notification was first received from the Newport-based boat about 5:00 a.m. After the F/V SOUND LEADER’s position was determined — approximately 2.5 miles west of Newport — the Coast Guard dispatched a 47-foot motor lifeboat and a helicopter. When rescue crews arrived on the accident scene, they found a debris field with three people in the water. Two of the survivors were airlifted to Coast Guard Air Facility Newport, while the third was transported by lifeboat to Station Yaquina Bay, and all three were transferred to EMS.
The Coast Guard will investigate as to the cause of the sinking of the F/V SOUND LEADER. The Coast Guard will be able to question the three survivors to find out what the vessel was doing immediately prior to its sinking in order to determine the cause of the sinking. In many instances, the sinking of a fishing vessel may be due to issues of stability, overloading and/or improper repairs and maintenance. Through the proper investigation, hopefully, the Coast Guard will determine the cause and help design standards to prevent this tragedy in the future.
Under the law, if the cause of the sinking is the result of negligence or unseaworthiness, the survivors or the families of the deceased may be entitled to damages under maritime law. Maritime law is very complex, making it important for injured crab fishermen to work with an attorney who specializes in maritime litigation. Maritime attorneys know how to protect fishermen’s rights under the Jones Act, general maritime law and maintenance and cure.
To learn more about maritime law or if you have any questions, contact a Boston maritime attorney at Latti & Anderson LLP today to ensure your legal rights are protected.
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