Clamp down on clamming

In May of 2011 five clam diggers who worked as contractors for Pacific Seafood died while working in Alaska. Their 22-foot boat was heavy with razor clams, and the conditions were rough. The overloaded skiff took on too much water and sank. Several of the dead were from Oregon.

After the accident took place, Pacific Seafood, which is based in Clackamas, Oregon, declared it would implement new safety measures, including training workers on cold-water safety and providing them with protective gear, but some consider that too little, too late. Now, a year after the tragedy, the families of the five dead men are suing Pacific Seafood. The lawsuit claims the seafood company failed to properly train the workers and did not provide appropriate safety equipment and gear. The workers did not have two-way radios or receive training on how to pilot the boat. In addition, the clam diggers were not taught what the boat’s load capacity was. They also knew no first aid or emergency safety procedures.

The deaths were the first in the history of Pacific Seafood. Here’s hoping they were the last. For more on this story, see this article.