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USDOL opens probe into fisherman’s death in Pago Pago

The gangway of the fishing vessel the purse seiner's captain tried to cross before he accidentally fell into the ocean and died. See story for details. [photo: AF]
compiled by Samoa News staff

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has opened a federal investigation into the death of the 62-year old captain of the US flagged purse seiner, Cape Farret, who died Oct. 28, while the vessel was in Pago Pago.

As reported by Samoa News yesterday police had investigated the incident and have recommended closing the case, after they determined no foul play was involved, and the incident was an unfortunate accident.

Reports say the incident occurred around 9 p.m. on Oct. 28th behind the Samoa Tuna Processors (STP) facility in Atu’u. The man is believed to have fallen into the ocean and sustained injuries to his head.

There have been local and off island inquiries as to whether OHSA, an agency with the US Department of Labor, is looking into this case, because it’s a work related incident and had occurred while the vessel was anchored in Pago Pago.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, USDOL spokesman Jose Carnevali said, “We can confirm that OSHA has initiated an investigation into this fatality.”

“This case is open and we cannot provide further information at this moment,” Carvnevali said yesterday from the USDOL’s regional office in San Francisco.


Samoa’s government owned Polynesian Limited, which manages and operates Polynesian Airlines, has already filed with the US Department of Transportation, its new trade name “Samoa Airways” — which is how the phone is answered when you now call Polynesian Airlines at the local airport in Tafuna.

Federal regulations require air carriers to file with USDOT an airline’s name including any trade name used for operation within the United States, including its territories.

In the past few months Polynesian Limited has included in its filing with USDOT, seeking a 30-day cabotage waiver to operate Manu’a flights, that it’s “doing business as (DBA), Samoa Airways” without Polynesian Airlines.

The carrier, since three years ago, had only been using Polynesian Airlines, as a trade name, when filing for a cabotage waiver.

According to USDOT public records, on Aug. 31st the federal agency acknowledged the registration — in accordance with federal regulations — by Polynesian Limited of the “Samoa Airways” trade name.

Airline officials say the carrier has been transitioning into its Samoa Airways name since September this year, while passenger itineraries already reflect Samoa Airways international airline code “OL”, instead of “PH” - for Polynesian Airlines.

Yesterday, which was Tuesday in Samoa, the carrier’s international service was re-launched, with Samoa Airways' inaugural flight from Apia to Auckland, New Zealand. The airline also plans to soon launch direct flights from Apia to Sydney, Australia.