The Coast Guard rescued three fishermen early this morning after their 37-foot fishing vessel Karanna ran aground on the Chibahdehl Rocks, approximately four miles west of Neah Bay, Wash. There were reports at 3:35 a.m. that the vessel was taking on water and when rescue crews arrived they were unable to pull up alongside the vessel due to the shallow waters. As a result, the fishermen had to swim to the rescue boat and were then taken to shore to awaiting emergency medical personnel.
It was reported that the grounding occurred due to the operator of the vessel falling asleep while transitioning. Fatigue among seamen is a leading cause of maritime injuries. As a result, there are strict Coast Guard regulations prohibiting those piloting vessels from working more than a set number of hours, usually a 12 hours in any 24-hour period. In this case it is unclear from reports what injuries the rescued fishermen suffered or whether the operator’s fatigue was caused by a statutory violation. However, where crewmembers are fatigued due to having worked more than the time permitted, and injuries result from their fatigue, the vessel owner is generally liable for the resulting injuries.