A Terrible Tragedy in Our Pacific Family
June 3, 2011
This year as we celebrate 70 years of business I have been reflecting back on the past and revisiting some of the journey that led up to where we are today…….a very successful and blessed company that has become one of the leading seafood providers to our great nation.
And then in the midst of that time of reflection, tragedy struck our great company beyond anything that we have ever experienced in our seventy years in business. It is a well-known fact that the fishing industry is one of the toughest careers known and not one for the faint of heart. Fishermen are hard-working individuals, respectful of the ocean waters they work in, committed to one another, their communities and especially their families. This was certainly the case of the 5 good men who lost their lives in a fluke accident while digging for clams on the 6 mile stretch of beach between Polly Creek and the Crescent River contracting to our Pacific Alaska Shellfish plant in Nikiski AK. I was heartsick when I heard the news of their tragic mishap and needed to understand what could possibly have happened to take the lives of 5 experienced crewmen. It just didn’t make sense. I knew some of them personally and I knew they were strong, confident and capable men. The US Coast Guard gave us their best determination of what they believe happened, but truth be told, we will never know what actually happened out there on that Tuesday afternoon.
What I do know for sure is that in honor of these five men, we will continue to be a company of individuals that give our best to our families, our communities and in doing our job every single day to the best of our ability. We are continually looking for best practices and ways to educate our team members and those we contract with to work safely and take advantage of every safety precaution that is available to them. We as a company are continuing to meet with the families of the deceased and walking through this season of tragedy with them providing tangible support. These five men may not have been employees of Pacific Seafood, but they were still part of our extended family. And when their story is no longer being covered on the news, it will never be forgotten by us as we continually keep our focus strong on educating and remembering to work safer and smarter.