Seattle Times special report on Alaska Ranger sinking

by Tim Flanagan on March 22, 2009

Hal Bernton has produced an extremely thorough report following up on the sinking, sildenafil one year ago, click of the trawler Alaska Ranger. He paints quite a disturbing scenario.

AlaskaRanger_EricHaynesPhoto
[Photo from Seattle Times, courtesy Eric Haynes.]

The fish masters are hired by a Japanese seafood buyer as advisers to help Fishing Company of Alaska catch and process Alaska fish. Their role is not to make command decisions aboard the company’s ships.

But according to Putnam and a dozen other former crew members, some of the Japanese nationals appeared to flout U.S. maritime laws that require licensed American captains and mates to control the company’s fleet during the pressure-packed harvests that unfold in perilous conditions.

Over the years, some of the Japanese fish masters physically assaulted some of the company’s American crewmen, repeatedly violated policies that prohibit shipboard drinking and helped oust two American skippers who defied their directives, the former crew members say. Such conduct increased the risks facing the Fishing Company of Alaska crews, who toil in an industry with the highest death rate in the U.S.

Those dangers were starkly evident one year ago when the Alaska Ranger, a 189-foot vessel operated by Fishing Company of Alaska with 47 crew, sank March 23 in the Bering Sea, claiming the lives of five crew members, including Konno. It took a dramatic rescue by the Coast Guard and a sister ship to avert a worse disaster.

A related story addresses the peculiar ties between Karena Adler, the woman who owns The Fishing Company of Alaska (which operated the Alaska Ranger) and Masashi Yamada, the man who controls Anyo Fisheries (which buys much of the seafood Adler’s company harvests).

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