ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Alaska have charged a worker on a factory fishing boat with attacking another crew member who criticized him for serving food without gloves during the coronavirus pandemic.
Maurice Young was charged with assault within the U.S. special maritime and territorial jurisdiction for allegedly breaking another worker’s eye socket March 23, Alaska Public Media reported Saturday.
Young was a housekeeper and galley assistant on the 235-foot (72-meter) SeaFreeze America, which has about 65 crew members, prosecutors said.
The ship was about 120 miles (193 kilometers) east of the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea during the alleged assault, prosecutors said in a court filing Friday.
A day earlier, a processor on the vessel criticized Young for serving food without using gloves, prosecutors said.
“The victim noted his concerns about the virus to the defendant,” the filing said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The disagreement escalated and Young suggested they fight, though the other worker declined, the filing said.
Young told a witness it might be his last day on the boat “because he planned to attack the victim,” prosecutors said.
The next day, Young approached the victim from behind, struck him in the face and continued the attack until a bystander pulled him away, prosecutors said.
The victim was transported on another fishing boat to Dutch Harbor, the major fishing port in the Aleutian Islands, before being flown to Anchorage for surgery for a broken orbital bone, court documents said.
Young’s initial court hearing was scheduled for June 8.
Prosecutors and United States Seafoods, which owns the SeaFreeze America, declined to comment.
Young did not immediately appear to have hired an attorney and could not be reached to comment.