Sailor Suffers Fatal Maritime Injury Onboard U.S.S. Nimitz

maritime injury, slip and fall, nimitz

The U.S. Navy is mourning the loss of a junior-ranking sailor who suffered a fatal maritime injury after falling while boarding the U.S.S. Nimitz.  The ship was in port at the Naval Air Station North Island near San Diego when the accident happened.

The sailor reportedly fell several stories from an aircraft elevator to the pier below while boarding the ship.  The elevator had been lowered and was connected to a walkway.  The sailor was taken to a nearby hospital, but died several hours later.

U.S. Navy officials say that they are investigating the cause of the accident.  Accidents onboard ships like the U.S.S. Nimitz are fairly rare.

What Factors Increase the Risk of Falls?

While accidents like this may be rare on the U.S.S. Nimitz, fall accidents are a fairly common cause of maritime injuries.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers slip, trip and fall accidents one of the most common causes of occupational injuries across industries.   According to OSHA, around 43 percent of maritime worker injuries are related to falling.

Falls are a risk on ships for several reasons.  Ships have many decks, close quarters, and the potential for slippery surfaces.  Additional factors that increase the risk of a fall-related maritime injury include:

  • Lack of non-skid surfaces
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Unmarked obstacles or hazards
  • Improper planning of high points, guard rails, ladders or walkways
  • Inadequate safety training
  • Improperly secured cargo
  • Inadequate guardrails or barriers

Of course, there are numerous factors that may lead to fall accidents.  Other less-common factors include distractions and intoxication.

Fall Accidents a Cause of Maritime Injury

Falls are one of the most dangerous types of maritime injury.  Fall accidents often result in injuries such as:

There are also additional risks related to falls from ships including drowning and hypothermia.

Can Fall Accidents be Prevented?

An unfortunate reality of maritime injury accidents is that many are preventable.  Ship owners and operators have a responsibility to make sure that ships are safe.  Furthermore, they must ensure:

  • The ship is seaworthy
  • The ship has proper safety gear
  • Crew members are properly trained
  • Crew members have personal protective equipment if needed
  • Hazards on the ship are addressed and corrected
  • Hazards that cannot immediately be corrected should be marked and crew members warned

Of course, sometimes accidents are just that, and there is no way to prepare or prevent them.  No matter what the cause of a maritime injury, what is most important is that maritime workers know they have legal rights.

Legal Rights For Maritime Injury Victims

If you work in the maritime industry and have suffered injury due to a fall, you have rights.  The maritime industry does not have the same system for workers’ compensation that other occupations have, but that doesn’t mean you are on your own.  There are maritime laws, like the Jones Act, which can help you get compensation for your injuries.

If your injury is due to the negligence of your employer, the ship owner or someone else, you may be entitled to damages, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages (past and future)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Therapy
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Maintenance and cure
  • Punitive damages

Compensation for these damages can help your family stay financial secure as you recover.  If you have lost a loved one in a maritime injury, you may also be able to claim damages for your loss through a wrongful death claim.  The spouse and children of a deceased maritime worker may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of financial support
  • Funeral or burial expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

The best way to find out what sort of compensation you and your loved ones may be able to pursue is to contact a maritime injury lawyer.

Contact Maritime Injury Guide to Learn About Your Rights

If you or someone you love has suffered a maritime injury, Maritime Injury Guide can help.  Our team of legal professionals can help you understand your legal rights and the options you may have for compensation.  If you have an actionable maritime injury claim, we can help you prove your case and get the justice you deserve.

To learn more about your legal rights and maritime law, call Maritime Injury Guide to schedule a free consultation.  Call us toll free at 1-877-363-6148.  You can also complete our online form to request more information or schedule a free injury consultation.

There are time limits for filing an injury claim, so don’t delay in getting the help you need.

 

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Four Crew Members Suffer Maritime Injuries when Cargo Ship Overturns

maritime injuries, ship accident

Four crew members onboard the cargo ship Golden Ray suffered maritime injuries when the ship overturned in the early hours of September 8, 2019.  Photos of the rescue suggest that the four crew members suffered injuries, as rescuers lifted the crew members from the ship strapped onto gurneys. The nature and extent of the injuries – be it bodily injury or trauma from the situation – has not been disclosed.

Cargo Ship Overturns Causing Maritime Injuries

The Golden Ray was just off the coast of Brunswick, GA and St. Simons Sound when the Coast Guard received a notice that a ship had overturned.  The ship was 80 miles off the coast of Savannah, GA when the incident happened.  Crew members report the ship listing heavily, meaning that the ship turned too sharply and tipped over.  This can happen due to uneven cargo loads or distribution.

When rescuers arrived, they were able to rescue 20 of the 24 people onboard, including 19 crewmembers and the pilot.  Four crew members were trapped inside the ship for hours after the incident.  The Coast Guard reported the rescue took around 40 hours to complete.  Rescuers first had to locate the missing crew members and confirm they were still alive.

Officials noted that the ship was too dangerous for rescuers to go inside and conduct a search.  Instead, they performed a series of taps on the hull of the ship.  Eventually, they got return taps from the trapped crewmen, and that helped them isolate their location.

To reach them, rescuers had to drill a hole into the hull of the ship.  They drilled in small sections until the hole measured two-foot-by-three-foot.  Rescuers reported that all four crewmen were alive, and were in “relatively good” condition.

Mitigating Further Hazards and Injuries

The Golden Ray is a 656-foot cargo vessel owned by Hyundai Glovis.  The automaker is one of many that use the port in Brunswick to transport automobiles into the U.S. Hyundai officials have expressed their gratitude for the rescue and ongoing investigation into why the ship overturned.

The company has worked with U.S. officials to mitigate hazards to nearby property and the environment.  Authorities’ primary concern was fuel in the ship leaking into the water. Now, two weeks later, the Coast Guard says that oil is sporadically leaking from the ship, which is still on its side in the sound.

The Coast Guard has received reports that oil has been spotted in nearby marshes, rivers, and shorelines. Officials continue to investigate and clean up the situation.

St. Simons Sound and the port are among the busiest in the U.S. Mitigating risks for other ships and the nearby communities is paramount in such situations.

Investigating the Cause of the Accident

Investigators continue to search for the cause of the accident and maritime injuries.  Weather conditions are one possible explanation.  Hurricane Dorian had passed over the area in the week before the accident, which could have impact surf conditions.

Crew members onboard report hearing “metallic sounds” before the ship overturned, but the source of the noise has not been identified.  It is possible that these noises were caused by cargo shifting in the cargo bays.  The ship was carrying automobiles at the time.

Another possibility being investigated is that a fire broke out and caused damage.  Crew members and rescuers noted that a fire producing black smoke was visible on the starboard side of the ship during the rescue.  The cause of the fire has not been identified.

Capsizing, Sinking, and Maritime Injuries

For maritime workers, capsizing or sinking are worst case scenarios.  When a ship lists, capsizes, or sinks, there are numerous risks for workers onboard.  These risks include:

Of course, an overturned or capsized vessel can also cause entrapment.  Being trapped inside the small space of a vessel that is at sea must be terrifying.  In the case of the Golden Ray, rescuers note that the four trapped crew members were extremely glad to be out of the confined space.

 

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Royal Caribbean Crew Member Dies from Maritime Injury

A 26-year-old Royal Caribbean crew member has died after a maritime injury he suffered while working on the cruise ship Vision of the Seas.   The crew member was performing maintenance work when he fell off the side of the ship.  Divers subsequently located and recovered his body.  This crew member marks the 349th person to fall overboard while on a cruise ship since 2000.

The crew member, Marvin Galero, was married with a 3-year-old child.  He was the third of nine siblings, and will be terribly missed.  Circumstances pertaining to this maritime injury and death remain cloudy.  In fact, four people are under investigation, including the captain of the ship.  Media reports state that manslaughter charges could result from Galero’s death.

Neglected Safety Procedures and Maritime Injury

At the time of the accident, it appears that the cruise line was not following proper safety procedures.  Galero was not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).  Royal Caribbean’s safety quality manual (SQM) outlines “work aloft” procedures.  The worker should have been wearing appropriate PPE, including a safety harness and other equipment.

The Royal Caribbean SQM obliges crew supervisors, department heads, and safety officers to sign off on the training that each crew member receives.  This is to make sure they are familiar with necessary safety equipment as they carry out dangerous aspects of their work.  Studies show this education and training is one of the most important factors in maritime safety.

Crew members who are properly trained in the use of PPE are safer workers who experience a much lower rate of maritime injury.

Royal Caribbean should have also completed a job safety analysis (JSA) outlining the risk of injury or death that the job presented to the worker.  Furthermore, the cruise line should have outlined the steps taken by supervisors to minimize those risks.  The cruise line did not complete a JSA for the job that Galero was performing when he fell.

Royal Caribbean is not the only cruise line to experience crew member injury.  Carnival Cruise Lines lost a crew member who fell off the Victory last year.  The crew member was also not wearing PPE.

Struggles for Filipino Maritime Workers

Galero was a Filipino national, as are many other Royal Caribbean crew members.  This is significant because Filipino seafarers must abide by the Philippines Overseas Employment Act (POEA).  The POEA is a law from the Philippines that restricts the compensation Filipino crew members may claim when they are killed by the negligence of their employers.  The POEA requires Filipino crew members to pursue arbitration in Manila before filing a lawsuit in the United States.

Under this heavily restrictive law, the maximum recovery surviving family members may obtain is only $50,000 for each adult and $7,500 for each child.  Damages in such small amounts are hardly adequate to compensate families for their loss.  Such damages also are not truly punitive for negligent cruise lines.

maritime injury

Work Aloft Procedures and PPE

There is no disputing that working on a ship or in a shipyard is dangerous.  Maritime workers are subjected to extreme weather conditions and hazardous working environments on a daily basis.  To promote maritime safety and enable workers to hold ship owners responsible for any workplace injuries, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), in connection with other American and international laws, enforces strict guidelines for some of the most dangerous work that must be done on ships.

A perfect example of a highly restricted work environment is working aloft.  Before working aloft or overside, it is important that maritime workers have the correct permit to work and have performed a job risk assessment.  The assessment should identify any potential hazards, such as bad weather or strong currents.

Though not regulated, it is best practice to inform crewmates and supervisors of plans to carry out work aloft or overside.  The best way to do so would be to both verbally alert them and to place warning signs.   Some cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, require supervisors and other members in the hierarchy of command to sign off on any work aloft.

Perhaps of highest importance is to ensure all safety equipment and PPE are nearby and in proper use.   Examples of appropriate PPE will vary by the specific job but may include:

  • Safety harness
  • Personal flotation device or life preserver
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Whistle
  • Radar scanner
  • Radio antenna

Experience and Supervision to Prevent Maritime Injury

Seafarers with limited experience should not work aloft or overside without the supervision of a more experienced crew member.  Regardless of experience level, the best way to promote maritime workplace safety is to consistently have a responsible crewmember keeping watch on deck.  A responsible watchman can be the difference between getting help to a crew member in trouble in time or being too late.

For overside work, it is best practice for a crew member keeping watch to have a lifebuoy and line on hand.  These can be thrown immediately to the worker in case of an emergency.

Examining Equipment and Tools

Crew members should inspect all equipment and tools before starting a job.  Do this to make sure they are the appropriate quality and in good condition.  Never carry tools in your pockets.  All tools should be carried on a tool belt or other suitable container.

Finally, be sure to fasten any security equipment, like gantlines, to permanent fixtures before allowing them to bear your weight.  Likewise, test all ropes and ladders prior to starting work with at least four times the load they will bear during the job.  This should be in addition to a visual inspection.

How Can PPE Use Prevent Maritime Injury?

PPE are vital tools that keep workers safe when the unexpected happens.  A maritime injury is something no crew member plans for, but all crew members should be prepared for.  Consider the following:

  • 80% of maritime fatalities are the result of falling overboard or capsizing and sudden immersion in cold.
  • In 90% of those fatalities, workers were not wearing life jackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs).
  • Without PFDs specifically, workers risk maritime injury and death from loss of consciousness. This is due to carbon monoxide fumes, injury from submerged hazards, sinking unexpectedly, or inability to swim because of waterlogged clothing

The importance of PPE cannot be stressed enough in a maritime work environment.

Have Questions about a Maritime Injury?

Lawmakers continuously enact laws to mandate employers’ enforcement of PPE use.  Sadly, many employers continue to put their employees at risk.  If you work in the maritime industry and have experienced an injury due to improper use or provision of PPE by your employer, contact Maritime Injury Guide.

As a maritime worker, you have rights.  Contact us to learn more.  You can call us at 1-877-363-6148 to request a free consultation with our maritime injury lawyer.  Or, email us to get started.

 

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An 1851 Maritime Law for a 2019 Boat Fire Case?

maritime law, boat fire

Source: Santa Barbara Fire Department

Thirty-four people are dead after a fire on a scuba dive boat off the coast of California.  Media reports say that wrongful death lawsuits are almost certain given the circumstances.  However, the owners of the boat are seeking to avoid liability by invoking a 19th century maritime law that shields vessel owners from liability.  The maritime law was famously used after the Titanic disaster despite so many passengers suffering maritime injury or death.

Maritime Fire Claims 34 Lives

The scuba diving boat Conception was on a  three day cruise to the Santa Cruz islands on September 2, 2019, when a fire broke out.  Thirty-three passengers and one crew member were sleeping when the fire began.  Law enforcement investigators say that the two exits, a stairway to the galley and an escape hatch, were likely both blocked by fire.

The only survivors from the shipboard fire were the captain and four crew members.  Recovery efforts were massive, and it took two days for all 34 victims to be recovered.  Also, authorities used DNA analysis to identify seven victims, a process most common in war zone relief efforts.

The victims range in age from 17 to 60.   Authorities believe all of the victims died due to smoke inhalation.  They include families on vacation, a teacher and his daughter, a diving instructor, and a marine biologist.  These were people who were passionate about scuba diving, and who died in the pursuit of an activity they truly loved.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. One survivor mentioned an electronic charging station, which is now a focus for investigators. It is not uncommon for ships to have charging stations and electronics. Furthermore, on a three day trip, it is likely passengers would want to charge their electronics.

The fire and the subsequent loss of life is almost unbearably tragic.  Wrongful death lawsuits  prompted by the fire are almost sure to happen.   Yet, the owners of the ship are hoping to minimize their financial responsibility by invoking the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851.

About the Archaic Maritime Law

According to Reuters, similar accidents that occur on land often result in settlements topping $100 million in damages.  But, when wrongful death occurs on the ocean, maritime law applies.  Any and all maritime injury or wrongful death lawsuits may potentially have to answer to the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851.

You may be surprised to find that a law of that age is still on the books and in used by a maritime attorneys today, but it is true.  The statute allows the owner of a vessel and its insurer to severely limit, or escape entirely, financial liability under certain conditions.  The law may be invoked for an accident on any waterway, whether for tugboats and barges in busy harbors or leisure boats on the open water.

When the owner of the ship, Truth Aquatics, invoked the statute they did so by filing a petition in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.  Under the law, the owner of a vessel can request that a federal court will exonerate them from damages or limit the damages to only the value of the post-accident value of the ship.

Truth Aquatics alleges that the vessel involved in the accident, the Conception, is now worthless.  The vessel burned to the water line before resting in about 60 feet of water.  They are seeking to avoid liability of any amount in connection with the untimely deaths of their 34 passengers.

Maritime Law Used after the Sinking of the Titanic

Though this maritime law may seem morally repugnant and financially motivated, ship owners have successfully used it to avoid liability in the past.  When the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, more than 1,500 people died.  The Titanic’s owner, White Star Lines, successfully invoked this law.

White Star Lines was able to limit its liability in lawsuits in the United States to the value of the lifeboats that survived the accident, a mere $92,000.

Successfully invoking this statute requires the ship owner to show that their actions did not cause the accident, or as 19th century maritime law phrased it, that the owner lacked “privity or knowledge” of the accident.  Owners who use this law attempt to provide evidence proving:

  • They equipped the ship properly
  • The crew had proper training
  • Crew members and leadership followed appropriate procedures.

In the case of the Titanic sinking, the ship featured all the latest technology and was famously considered to be “unsinkable.” White Star Lines successfully argued that they played no part in the captain navigating the ship into an iceberg.

How this Maritime Law Applies Today

In the modern day, the interconnectivity of global communication has undeniably increased owners’ roles in the day-to-day operation of their ships, and has therefore limited the potential to limit liability under the law.  Captains and crew leadership seek to obtain the owners’ approval with most major decisions.

Where the modern example of the Conception tragedy is concerned, the judge who hears the case will look for evidence that the owners had knowledge or some level of involvement in the accident.

The captain and four crew members were able to escape in an inflatable lifeboat.  They reportedly attempted to rescue the other passengers, but were unable to access the ship.  In this matter the Court will likely look into:

  • The crew’s competency, background, and education
  • The crew’s training
  • Firefighting equipment available onboard
  • The passengers’ training

Truth Aquatics’ claims the fire was not “caused or contributed to by any negligence, fault or knowledge” on their part.  To prove this claim, the company will have to show the accident was not caused by something they did or should have done.  When invoking this maritime law, owners will often try to blame the accident on a crew member.

Will they Get Away with It?

Though the statute is a valid maritime law, something about it appeals to the sense of justice.  Luckily, judges are usually reluctant to apply this law in high-profile accidents, especially those that involve tourists.

There is a high threshold petitioners must meet to successfully seek protection under this law.  But, that doesn’t stop ship owners from trying to benefit from its protections.  Just last year a fatal duck boat accident in Branson, MO claimed the lives of 17 people.  The owners sought to avoid liability using this same maritime law.

The judge in that matter has not yet ruled on their request to limit their liability.  Many of the victims’ families have settled rather than continuing to push through the trial process.  Owners usually seek settlements in high-publicized accidents like this to avoid the drawn-out process of trials.

In cases like this with tragic loss of life, owners usually want to stay out of the spotlight.  If they push too far, outrage in popular opinion might be enough to prompt Congress to revisit this maritime law.

Maritime Law and Your Legal Rights

Whether you work onboard a ship or are taking a vacation, maritime accidents can happen to anyone.  Ship owners and operators must follow safety guidelines and applicable laws to ensure the safety of those onboard.  Similarly, employers must ensure that maritime workers have proper equipment and a safe working environment.

Anyone who is injured while onboard a ship may find it helpful to contact a maritime injury lawyer to learn more about maritime law and their legal rights.  Maritime Injury Guide can assess your situation and determine if you have an actionable maritime injury claim.

Call Maritime Injury Guide to request a free injury consultation at 1-877-363-6148.  You can also email us for more information.

 

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Personal Protective Equipment May be the Best Way to Promote Marine Safety

marine safety, PPE, maritime job injuries

The global economy lives and dies with the health of the shipping industry.  Despite its global importance, workers in the shipping industry face marine safety hazards that make their workplace one of the most dangerous in the world.  Maritime job injuries can happen in almost any occupation in the industry.  Could appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) help mitigate risks?

Using PPE to Promote Marine Safety

A study recently published in Risk Analysis: an International Journal seeks to understand the causes, and the best ways to reduce, the frequency of occupational injuries among seafarers.  Safer work conditions for seafarers directly benefits shipping companies in the form of reduced insurance premiums, liabilities and legal costs, which in turn certainly benefits the consumer.

The Risk Analysis study addresses the causes of workplace injuries and accidents.  Researchers found that marine safety campaigns focusing on personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers can be the most effective at reducing risks and subsequent injuries.

The article referred to a study called “Quantitative Risk Assessment of Seafarers Non-fatal Injuries Due to Occupational Accidents Based on Bayesian Network Modeling.” Conducted by a team of Singapore-based researchers, the survey collected extensive data from seafarers about their working practices and their records of injuries.

Data Collection about Marine Safety Practices

Researchers collected 354 responses from seafarers in Singapore, China, South Korea, and Vietnam.   Workers in these countries represent a high percentage of the workers in the international seafaring market.  The responses recorded information designed to test certain potential risk factors including:

  • Demographics – Sex, age, experience, nationality, ship type, position, time in position, tour duration, change of ship, familiarity, training, adequate rest, distraction.
  • Work-Related Factors – Job risk awareness, job risk assessment, risk communication from employers, procedure design, housekeeping shore visit frequency, maintenance, accident feedback loop ,and injury during workers’ latest tour.
  • PPE Use – Defective equipment or tools, PPE availability, PPE training, PPE usage, and reasons for not using PPE.

Marine Safety and PPE Study Results

The results of the survey suggested:

  • 14% of seafarers suffered at least one injury during their latest tour.
  • The most influential risk factors were age, risk awareness, sea experience, and PPE availability.
  • 4% of marine workers reported never receiving proper PPE training.
  • The injury rate among respondents untrained in PPE was as much as 33% higher than others.
  • Overall, PPE availability had the greatest potential to decrease probability of injuries.
  • Risk awareness can be improved through training.
  • 18% of respondents reported their company did not retrain or refresh training after a maritime injury accident hurt a co-worker.

Overall, PPE availability is the most significant factor for promoting marine safety, indicating that:

  • Maritime management should focus on improving and maintaining the supply of proper and effective PPEs aboard their vessels.
  • A periodic review of the need for PPE for each task and subsequent updates of the type, size, and quality of PPE would be a particularly effective new marine safety campaigns for employers to implement.
  • Companies should ensure all workers receive appropriate training on the proper use of PPEs, because this training is easily as important as the availability of the equipment itself.
  • Risk awareness among employees can be improved by sharing information and anecdotes of common injuries.
  • Communicating risk assessment results and posting warning signs at the sites of potential marine safety hazards can also be effective.
  • Selecting PPE that do not sacrifice workplace efficiency will promote workers using them more regularly.
  • Developing a workplace culture that promotes using PPEs at all times may also be effective.

Types Of PPE Most Effective at Protecting from Marine Safety Hazards

The viability of the shipping industry depends on a safe and effective workforce.  That is, seafarers who are competent and whose employers provide safe and healthy working conditions.  The following types of PPEs keep maritime workers safe as they labor in this very dangerous industry.

Protective Clothing

The most common piece of protective clothing is a coverall, which protects the body from injuries due to hazardous substances like hot water, or a welding spark.  Maritime workers popularly refer to a coverall as a dangri or a boiler suit.

Helmet

Some of the most devastating injuries maritime workers incur are head injuries.  Hard hats or helmets with chin straps can guard against head injuries even if the worker trips or falls.

Safety Shoes

Bulky cargo and machinery, welding, falling objects, and slick surfaces create conditions that benefit from appropriate footwear.  Safety shoes help workers to find their footing safely, which prevents slip and fall accidents.  Also, safety shoes protect feet from crushing injuries.  Safety shoes should be both non-skid and steel toed.

Gloves

Gloves of many different descriptions can be provided on board a ship as PPE.  Some are heat resistant gloves for working on a hot surface. Cotton gloves improve grip. Welding gloves protect from burns. And chemical gloves prevent toxic exposure.

Eye Protection

Daily working conditions on a ship create many opportunities for eye injury.  Protective glasses or goggles are essential for eye protection, and welding goggles should always be used during welding operations.

Hearing Protection

Ear muffs or ear plugs are necessary in engine rooms where sound levels can easily reach 110 or 120 decibels.  Consequently, even a few minutes of exposure to volume of that level can cause headaches or even hearing loss.

Respirators

Many jobs in the maritime industry involve working around hazardous particles.  Painting, welding, and sandblasting are a few examples.  Workers on older ships also risk exposure to substances like asbestos and silica dust, which are common in the maritime industry.  Respirators can prevent respiratory injury or illness due to dangerous particle exposure.

Chemical Suit

Many maritime workers will face exposure to toxic chemicals in the course of their work.  Some of the chemicals are very dangerous if they come in contact with human skin. Wearing a chemical suit or hazmat suit can avoid burns and other injuries due to hazardous chemicals.

Safety Harnesses

Seafarers regularly climb high and elevated surfaces to perform routine maintenance and other operations on the ship.  Many times crew members must attempt to reach areas that are not easily accessible.  As a result of the ships movement, the risk of a fall from heights is quite high, and requires the use of a safety harness.  Safety harnesses must be worn by the operator at one end and tied to a strong point at the other end to catch a worker in case of a fall.

Welding Shield

Welding is a daily occurrence on board most ships because it is absolutely essential for structural repairs.  Welders should have access to a welding shield or mask to protect their eyes and face from coming into direct contact with the ultraviolet rays of the weld and intense sparks from the metal.

Have Questions about Marine Safety and Your Rights?

Shipping companies have a responsibility to minimize marine safety hazards.  That includes ensuring that the work environment is safe and meets regulations, and that employees have proper PPE and training.  If your employer failed to issue you PPE, or failed to train you in the ways to properly use it, contact Maritime Injury Guide.

If an employer does not meet regulations and you are harmed as a result, you may be entitled to compensation.  Talk to a maritime injury lawyer to find out more about marine safety and your rights.  Call 1-877-363-6148 or contact us online for more information.

 

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Veteran Shipbuilder Dies in a Shipbuilding Accident on Aircraft Carrier

shipbuilding accident, maritime injury

A shipbuilding accident has claimed the life of a veteran Newport News shipbuilder.  The worker, who has not been identified, may have fallen into a tank while working on the aircraft carrier USS George Washington. This is a tragic example of how no one in the industry is exempt from the risk of maritime injury.

Shipbuilding Accident Information

The accident occurred a little before 2 p.m.  on August 19, 2019.  The story broke long before rescue workers from the U.S. Navy could attempt recover the body.  Company representatives have stayed mum about the deceased worker’s identity pending the notification of his next of kin.

The president of Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Jennifer Boykin, released a statement to the deceased workers colleagues about the shipbuilding accident.  The statement revealed the worker was a construction supervisor with 39 years of shipyard service.  Though the details are still unclear, in the early stages of the investigation all signs indicated that he fell while working in a tank.

Despite the diligent efforts of the U.S. Navy rescue and response personnel, the worker died from his injuries, however they occurred.  Sadly, at the time of Boykin’s statement, efforts to recover the shipbuilder’s body from the tank were as yet unsuccessful.

“Our main focus right now is on this recovery effort,” she said, “Please keep our fellow shipbuilder in your thoughts and prayers.”

The USS George Washington

The USS George Washington Spirit of Freedom is in the shipyard for refueling and a complex overhaul.  For an aircraft carrier like this, an overhaul is a four-year-long project that takes place only once during a typical ship’s 50 years in service.  This carrier is about halfway through its overhaul, which began in August, 2017.  An overhaul of this scope includes:

  • Repairs
  • Upgrades
  • Modernization
  • Refueling of nuclear reactors

The aircraft carrier is a Nimitz class vessel.  The ship is about 1,000 feet long, 97,000 tons, and can carry 60 or more aircraft, according to the U.S.  Navy.  In a workplace of such vast size with so many hazardous projects occurring simultaneously, the potential for injury is great.

Having not yet recovered the worker’s body after the shipbuilding accident, the company still cannot say for sure exactly where on the ship the incident occurred.  Information remains scant as the company investigates.

Risky Work Environments May Cause Shipbuilding Accidents

Shipyard workers labor in some of the most risky working environments.  The fatal accident involving a worker with almost four decades of experience illustrates the caution workers require to stay safe.  There are several considerations for workers, such as:

Working Conditions

In the first place, shipyards are not plush and comfortable working environments.   Almost every task a worker will undertake in their workday is dangerous.  Workers often face uncomfortable conditions due to weather.  Many shipyard workers are vulnerable to hazardous materials throughout the workday as well.

In some functions, workers might struggle through cramped conditions or teeter on high scaffolding.  The conditions of the job make for a lucrative career, but not without risk.  The hazards workers face make their work extremely valuable.

Slip and Falls

The proximity to moist sea air and spray coupled with dangerously high working areas poses the constant threat of fatal falls.  A shipbuilding accident that results in a fall is often fatal because of the great heights from which workers can fall.

In addition to fatalities, shipyard falls can easily cause other severe injuries such as:

  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Amputations
  • Drowning

Demanding Hours

For many shipyard workers, duty may call at any time of the day or night.  Some emergency repairs can cause workers to work longer than average shifts for days at a time.  Tired workers increase the chances of a shipbuilding accident by making the work environment a little more dangerous for everyone.

Heavy Machinery

Shipbuilding happens on a large scale.  The machinery used is enormous.  Safely operating it requires immense skill and prodigious strength.  Consequently, small mistakes with such heavy duty machines can prove fatal or cause serious injury.

Fires and Explosions

Fire is one of the worst disasters that can befall a shipyard.  Between the plentiful piles of combustible materials, frequent showers of sparks, and electrical cords fire is an ever-present threat in a shipbuilder’s workday.

Exposure to Carcinogens

Though largely out of use in most construction ashore, asbestos is still used in shipyards.  Shipbuilders exposed to asbestos are vulnerable to cancers like mesothelioma.  Exposure of this type is one of the most significant health dangers workers in shipyards face.  Asbestos exposure has been known to cause cancer decades later.  Maritime workers who work around this dangerous material once can be at risk for related cancer the rest of their lives.

Misinformation

Many shipyard workers simply don’t know their rights when they experience a shipbuilding accident.  Their employers may have led them to believe it’s not possible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Their employer also may have forced them to sign an arbitration agreement.

The truth is, the practice of maritime injury law exists specifically to protect maritime workers when they experience injury due to their employer’s negligence.  Shipyard workers have rights, and they have options.

Are You the Victim of a Shipbuilding Accident?

If you have fallen or been injured while working in a shipyard, talk to Maritime Injury Guide about your options for holding your employer responsible for your injuries.  You may be entitled to compensation that can recover the costs of lost wages, medical bills, and your pain and suffering.

If you have lost a loved one in a shipbuilding accident, you may also qualify for compensation and certain benefits.  Find out more by contacting Maritime Injury Guide.  Schedule a free injury consultation with our maritime lawyer by calling 1-877-363-6148, or contact us online.

 

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Worker Awarded $10.3 million in Cruise Ship Compensation Claim

cruise ship compensation claim, cruise injury, maritime injury

A food service worker employed on Celebrity Cruises’ Eclipse filed a cruise ship compensation claim for spinal injuries he suffered while working.  In arbitration, he won a $10.3 million award for his cruise ship injury, but his former employer is now suing in void the award.

Maitre d’ on the High Seas

The injured party’s name is Slobodan Despot, and he was employed as a maitre d’ at the ship’s Murano Restaurant.  In his cruise ship compensation claim, he said a sudden movement of the ship caused a bread trolley to roll, fall over, and strike him in the back while he was working in a pantry on the Eclipse in July, 2015.

Despot, by all indications, followed appropriate shipboard protocols for reporting his injury.  The cruise line treated him with medical care on board immediately and made arrangements for him to receive further care.  Despite this, Despot filed his claim because he says his injuries resulted in central pain syndrome. This is a neurological condition involving the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord.

The Cruise Ship Compensation Claim

Bound by his employment agreement, Despot pursued his claim via confidential arbitration process.  In arbitration, the parties agreed to follow the general maritime workplace injury laws of the United States, namely the Jones Act.

The arbitrator ruled in favor of Despot on June 6, 2019, awarding him $10.3 million for his injuries.  Obviously, Celebrity Cruises, a subsidiary of Royal Carribean Cruises, Ltd., was displeased with the decision.  The company took immediate action to avoid paying out.

According to Celebrity, a key factor in the arbitrator’s decision was the cruise line’s failure to produce two pieces of evidence:

  • The bread trolley: The cruise line placed the item back into service the week after Despot’s injury and could not differentiate it from the others in service aboard the ship when the arbitrator asked for it.
  • Accident report and photographs: Celebrity would not release its internal records when the arbitrator asked, protesting, “work product immunity.”

The cruise line filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Miami hoping to void the arbitrator’s award.  Celebrity contends the absence of the two pieces of evidence prompted the arbitrator to form an adverse presumption against the cruise line inappropriately.  Under the Jones Act, the burden of proof rests with the party bringing the cruise ship compensation claim.  Celebrity says the arbitrator’s decision should not have been influenced by these two absent pieces of evidence. Instead, it should be influenced by the affirmative arguments from Despot and his attorney.

The cruise line didn’t stop there.  After a failed initial attempt to remove the arbitrator, Celebrity is seeking to further undermine the award by accusing the arbitrator of improperly soliciting a charitable donation from Despot’s attorney during the arbitration process.

Despot is not giving up.  He filed suit in federal court seeking to confirm the arbitrator’s award.

Arbitration Under the Jones Act

The Jones Act provides an avenue for maritime workers to seek recovery for workplace injuries.  Workers’ compensation laws do not apply when the injured party is at sea. Therefore, the Jones Act bridges the gap and makes it possible for workers to seek compensation such as in this cruise ship compensation claim.

Despot, employed as a maitre d’, may not fit the traditional image of a seaman, but he was employed in the work of the ship, and as such was eligible to seek redress under the Jones Act.

Unlike Despot’s claim, most cases of arbitration occur to resolve a dispute over a maritime worker’s Jones Act claim.  Sometimes employers offer arbitration when they feel it will minimize the eventual sum they may have to pay.  Some go so far as to argue that it is the most convenient and cost effective option for both parties.  Though that may be true in some cases, there are also several disadvantages.

Defining Arbitration

Arbitration is a process where an objective third party decides the outcome of a claim instead of a judge and jury.  This is different from the norm in a traditional worker’s compensation matter.

Some maritime employment agreements include a clause mandating arbitration in the event of an injury, as in Despot’s case.  Without this arbitration clause, federal law prohibits employers from forcing arbitration upon their employees.

Tactics Employers Use to Coerce Workers into Arbitration

Most employers prefer to settle disputes via arbitration because the eventual award amount is generally lower than in a jury trial.  Large corporate entities know how expensive court and trial costs can be.  They would rather avoid that expense while also minimizing their eventual pay-out.  Arbitration most often benefits the employer, not the injured.

Some employers use the illegal tactic of withholding benefits or pay until their employees sign an arbitration clause.  Many maritime workers, not knowing their rights, sign away their opportunity to a jury trial.  This is because it seems to be the only way the company will release a paycheck or provide benefits.

Sometimes, employers will mislead workers by promising that arbitration is the faster way to come to an agreement and disperse the funds.  This isn’t really true.  Neither arbitration or jury cases operate on a specific timeline, and the average difference between the two is usually small.

Have Questions about Arbitration and a Cruise Ship Compensation Claim?

If you are party to an arbitration agreement with your employer, you have few options if you suffer an injury at work.  That means you do still have some options, though. You certainly can benefit from the advice of an experienced cruise ship compensation claim lawyer.

Remember that you don’t have to go it alone, even if you are party to an agreement to arbitrate.  You have rights. With an experienced Jones Act attorney in your corner, your chances of securing the compensation you need are much better than if you move forward without counsel.  Call Maritime Injury Guide if you have been injured while aboard a cruise ship in any capacity.  Call 1-877-363-6148 or email us for more information.

 

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Maritime Injury Lawyer Discusses Maritime Silicosis

maritime injury lawyer, silicosis

Each year, millions of workers in the United States are exposed to crystalline silica.  Many of these workers do not know that this common mineral can lead to a host of health problems, including incurable diseases like silicosis and lung cancer.  At Maritime Injury Guide, our maritime injury lawyer wants you to be aware of the risks of crystalline silica so that you can take measures to prevent exposure.

In this post, you will find information about the mineral, the dangers, and what you can do to protect yourself.  If you have questions about toxic chemicals or substances, don’t hesitate to contact Maritime Injury Guide.

What is Crystalline Silica?

Crystalline silica is a mineral that is in most rocks.  It is present in sand, stone, brick, concrete, and mortar.  It is most commonly found in quartz, which is one of the most common minerals found on the surface of the Earth.

maritime injury lawyer

When workers in construction or mining cut, saw, or grind rocks crystalline silica particles are released into the air in the form of silica dust.  Workers in the maritime industry commonly use silica sand as an abrasive to clean ship hulls or remove paint.  This also releases silica dust into the air.

Why is Silica Dust Dangerous?

Silica dust is respirable, meaning you can inhale the fine particles when breathing.  Breathing in silica dust is dangerous because the particles can lodge themselves in the soft tissues of the lungs.  This causes inflammation, scarring, and nodules – all of which can impact breathing.

Silica dust can also cause a variety of lung and airway diseases, autoimmune disorders, renal disease, and other health complications.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists the diseases most often linked to silica dust exposure as:

  • Silicosis
  • Lung Cancer
  • Pulmonary Tuberculosis
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Kidney Disease

What is Maritime Silicosis?

As a maritime injury lawyer, the most common questions about maritime silica exposure relate to silicoses.  Maritime silicosis often develops after months or years of exposure to silica dust.  Workers who sandblast or use abrasives may experience high concentrations of silica dust, especially if they work in confined areas.

Silicosis is an incurable lung disease that progresses, or gets worse, over time.  Many workers do not experience symptoms of silicosis for up to 15-20 years after initial exposure.  As a result, it is often difficult to link silicosis to occupational hazards. The most common symptoms of silicosis include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss
  • Edema (swollen legs)
  • Fever
  • Persistent productive cough

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines silicosis as a pneumoconioses, or a group of interstitial lung diseases.  These diseases are the result of inhaling respirable dust into the lungs.  In addition to silicosis, asbestosis and coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (black lung) are also in this category of disease.

Silicosis is a lung disease itself, but it can also compromise your immune system to dangerous levels.  Silicosis also puts you at risk for developing additional health problems, including COPD, tuberculosis, or lung cancer.

Is Silicosis Preventable?

Silicosis is 100 percent preventable by following proper safety and health measures.  In 2018, OSHA developed new “Respirable Crystalline Silica” standards, which are applicable to workers in all industries, including the maritime industry.  The new standards require employers to do the following:

  • Determine if any worker is exposed to silica dust above the exposure limits set by OSHA, which is 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
  • Create a written exposure control plan.
  • Train workers on the dangers of silica dust exposure and how to prevent exposure.
  • Limit access to areas where silica dust levels are above exposure limits.
  • Use housekeeping measures to reduce the amount of dust in the air.
  • If silica dust is present, employers must protect workers by providing adequate respirators.
  • Workers who are exposed to silica dust above the exposure limits for 30 days or more per year must be provided a medical exam every three years. Furthermore, the exam must include lung function tests and a chest x-ray.

In addition to these guidelines, workers engaging in certain occupations, such as sandblasting, are subject to all other applicable OSHA guidelines.  For example, employers must provide adequate ventilation.

Have You Been Diagnosed with Maritime Silicosis? Contact a Maritime Injury Lawyer

Despite OSHA guidelines and CDC recommendations, employers still fail to prevent silica dust exposure.  In fact, estimates suggest that two million workers in the U.S.  are currently vulnerable to developing silicosis.

If you have received a diagnosis of silicosis, you may be one of the many people who were not provided with adequate protection from silica dust.  However, The Jones Act and other maritime laws exist to protect workers like you from the negligence of others.  If your employer failed to keep you safe, then you may have an actionable claim.

To find out more about silicosis and your legal rights, contact the maritime injury lawyer at Maritime Injury Guide.  Our legal team can certainly help you understand and protect your legal rights.  Complete our online contact form to get started.

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Coast Guard Marine Safety Alert after Shipboard Fire in the Great Lakes

marine safety, maritime fire, fire safety

A bulk carrier cargo ship laid up for the winter experienced a devastating fire that caused major damage.   The damage was so extensive and the danger so great, that the U.S.  Coast Guard issued a marine safety alert regarding fire safety for ships in lay-up.  While there were no maritime job injuries in this fire, it highlights a possible danger for all maritime workers.

“Lay-up” is a term that refers to periods of time when ships are temporarily out of use.  Typically vessels in lay-up are anchored or moored.  Sometimes seasonally, and sometimes due to market fluctuations, ship owners will choose to put their vessels in lay-up and wait for more profitable conditions.   A ship in lay-up is much less expensive to run and requires few crew members and technicians to keep the vessel in good working order.

In the event of an emergency like a massive fire, a small crew is a double edged sword.  On the one side, there are fewer workers who may be injured in a shipboard fire.  On the other side, there are also fewer crew members to react to an emergency situation.

No Watchman on Duty

The “bulker” that caught fire while laid up in the Great Lakes was unmanned and vacant when the fire was discovered.  Normally, a ship watchman would have been onboard during a lay-up.  The watchman assigned to the vessel that day went home for the weekend hours before the fire was reported.   No replacement watchman took his place.

The day of the fire, the vessel had a working crew aboard welding in the ballast tanks and conveyor tunnel areas.  According to the ship’s log, the last worker left the vessel at 6 p.m.  At 8 p.m., a watchman on a nearby ship observed the fire.

Numerous Possible Sources of Ignition

Observations from the watchman on the other vessel indicated that the fire may have originated in the machine shop on the gangway deck.  As investigation into the cause of the catastrophic fire began, workers noted many possible sources of ignition in the machinery space such as:

  •  Propane heaters
  •  Electric heaters
  •  Heat lamps

The investigation revealed that the welding work crew used the machine shop and steering gear rooms to warm up during their breaks during the work day.  The electric heaters in those rooms were still connected to onshore electricity prior to the fire, though all the other vessel machinery was shut down.

Delayed Call for Help Results in Devastation

Though the nearby watchman spotted the fire at approximately 8 p.m., it was almost 45 minutes before he called 911.  He spent the intervening time contacting hot-work contractors and other contract workers before seeking emergency services.

When local fire departments did respond, they were able to cool the vessel’s exterior, as well as the exteriors of other ships docked nearby.  Efforts to save the ship were complicated by frozen water hydrants at the dock.   In the end, the fire burned for more than 35 hours in the upper engine room spaces and moved into the entire superstructure, on to the self-unloading belt, throughout the port and starboard conveyor tunnels, and onto the cargo boom belt above the main deck.

While emergency crews worked to fight the fire, the electrical power supply from the shore to the vessel failed.   Because the ship was in lay-up, a number of valves were open for maintenance and to drain various systems within the machinery space.   Because of the power loss during the fire, the bubbling system used to prevent freezing around the machinery space area of the hull failed.

There had been several days of freezing weather in the days leading up to the fire, so various piping systems failed and water flooded into the machinery space.   This flooding continued until divers were able to shut off the flow from the sea chest.

The Marine Safety Warning from the Coast Guard

Due to the flooding, major structural damage, and the long burning fire, investigators did not access the vessel for 11 days following the incident.   When they were finally able to get aboard, there was no way to identify a specific source of the fire.   The prevailing theory is that the fire began in the machine shop area where the welding workers left numerous electric heaters plugged in for weeks prior to the fire.

In light of the devastating fire, the Coast Guard issued a marine safety warning to vessel owners and operators whose vessels are in lay-up status.  Particularly, the Coast Guard warns vessel owners with ships connected to shore power to be cautious when work, such as welding, takes place.

The warning cautioned ship owners to:

  • Be sure that continuous fire, safety, and security watches are maintained.  Furthermore, that scheduled watchmen receive specific instructions regarding their duties in the event of a fire or other emergency situation.
  • Make use of persons with vessel engineering experience and familiarity with engine room systems during lay-up preparations.  These individuals can help prevent unintended circumstances, such as the flooding of the machinery space on this ship.

Marine Firefighting

Connection to onshore power and irresponsible engineering certainly seems likely culprits for the overall catastrophic damage on this vessel.  However, even on the best-run ship, a fire is much more deadly and complex than a fire ashore.

Think of it like this: a large commercial bulker is like a large building with most of its floors underground.  The volume of ship space with limited entry points below deck is a challenging aspect for firefighters.

Some vessels may have an internal depth of hull as tall as a 7-story building.  Essentially, it is a floating warehouse with access to a series of upper decks.  This makes most ships the firefighting equivalent of responding to a 9-story building with a 7-story basement.

Further complicating matters, most commercial vessels encapsulate all the elements of a small city.  Many ships contain:

  • Heavy industrial equipment,
  • High bay warehousing
  • A hotel or sleeping facilities
  • Leisure facilities
  • Workshops
  • Bulk oil storage
  • Offices

The Coast Guard’s marine safety warning was a needful one because fire safety on ships can be the difference between life and death.

Have Questions about Marine Safety?

If you are suffering the effects of a maritime fire, contact Maritime Injury Guide.  As a maritime worker, you have certain legal rights and protections.  You may be entitled to benefits or compensation for your injuries and losses.

Find out more by contacting Maritime Injury Guide to schedule a consultation with an experienced maritime injury lawyer today.  Call 1-877-363-6148 or email us.

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Planning for Marine Safety as Hurricane Season Begins

marine safety, hurricane season, maritime

Hurricanes cause maritime disasters every year.  Sadly, there is no guarantee that marine safety practices will ensure the safety of a vessel or prevent maritime injury among workers.  Now that hurricane season in the United States is upon us, it is the perfect time to consider marine safety and how maritime workers can stay safe.

The best way to minimize a hurricane’s impact at sea or in port is vigilant monitoring of hurricane potential.  Preparedness coupled with some fundamental safety guidelines can reduce the risk of a disaster.

Recent Catastrophic Hurricane Seasons

Recent storm seasons have left parts of the U.S.  crippled.  It would be hard to forget the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  The two storms that crippled Southeast Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, and caused widespread destruction in the Eastern Caribbean.   Some estimates count the cost of damages from these storms up to $200 billion.

Because the storms blasted through and damaged major oil-producing resources, the country stands to lose another $30 billion from the damage over time.  Hurricane Harvey caused record flooding in Texas and reduced U.S.  oil refining capacity by about a quarter.   It took many months before Texas oil refineries were back to capacity.

Overcoming Problems of Forecasting

Even with highly advanced Doppler radar systems and other meteorological tools, there is still a surprising amount of error in forecasting the intensity of a tropical weather system, as well as where it can go.   During hurricane season, continual risk analysis can save lives and save a vessel from sinking.

During hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issues four Tropical Cyclone Forecast/Advisory Messages (TCM) per day when storm systems are active.  Mariners can make use of these TCMs to make marine safety decisions.  TCMs use the latest information about the strength of a hurricane and where it is moving.  When used appropriately, it can be an invaluable tool that allows ship operators to make sound decisions and avoid hurricanes.

Marine Safety Guidelines for Avoiding Hurricanes at Sea

Predicting hurricanes is inherently uncertain, so mariners should follow a few simple marine safety guidelines to limit the potential of a dangerous and damaging encounter between a ship and a hurricane.

34 Knot Rule

Ships should avoid the 34 knot wind field of a hurricane.  Thirty-four knots is an important number because this wind speed can result in an insurmountable deficit to ship maneuverability.   A clunky ship unable to be maneuvered is a sitting duck in a hurricane.

1-2-3 Rule

According to the NHC, this rule is the single most important tool in accounting for the inherent tracking errors associated with hurricanes.   Using information from the TCM, the 1-2-3 rule establishes a minimum distance that ships ought to maintain from a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean.   Knowing a minimum distance to keep away from a powerful storm allows mariners to employ a generous buffer zone to keep their vessels safe.

Overestimating the buffer zone is the best marine safety practice when coping with high forecast uncertainty, crew members with limited experience, or any problems with the vessel’s handling or seaworthiness.

Never Cross the “T”

Experienced mariners should know never to cross the track, or “T”, of a hurricane.   Passing through the track of a hurricane invites many negative effects to ship maneuverability including vessel speed and handling, sudden accelerations, wind shear, storm surge, or dangerous winds.  These expose a ship to conditions for which it is not prepared – which can result in disaster.  It is important to adjust course and speed in order to keep vessels clear of the danger of a hurricane.

Assessing Options

Never leave yourself with only a single navigation option during hurricane season.  Especially in the confined waters of the Gulf of Mexico, room to maneuver is a significant factor.  Generally speaking, deciding early on to move away from areas of restricted maneuverability is a sensible choice.

Port Specific Risk Analysis

Ships that seek shelter in a port, or have plans to move to or away from a port, should consider all of the above.  These are important considerations when factoring the risks and benefits of certain navigation choices.

Marine Safety for Vessels at Port During a Hurricane

Above all else, preparing a vessel to weather a hurricane should start as soon as possible.  Scrambling to secure rigging or gear as a hurricane approaches is a good way for maritime workers to get hurt.  Instead, maritime work environments should remain in a state of hurricane preparedness from the very start of hurricane season.

Some of these early marine safety preparations include:

  • Evaluating and replacing any lines or rigging that are getting old or frail.  The absolute worst time for a rope to snap is in the middle of a hurricane.
  • Consider setting multiple anchors if at all possible.  Keeping the ship still while at port can be an important factor in avoiding injury.
  • Reduce, remove, or stow as much cordage or equipment from the surface of the ship as possible.   Decrease the surface area that the wind can blow against in every way you can to keep the ship as still as possible.

Have Questions about Marine Safety and Your Work Environment?

Maritime employers have a responsibility to make careful risk assessments during hurricane season. Employers can be held liable for injuries a maritime worker suffers due to a hurricane or failing to move away from it.

As a maritime worker, there are specific laws that protect your right to demand compensation for any injuries you suffer on the job or as a result of your employer’s negligence.

Maritime injury law is an exceedingly complex area of law.  If you are injured because of a hazardous work environment or the negligence of your employer, contact Maritime Injury Guide.  You may qualify for benefits under The Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).  These benefits can help cover the cost of medical care, as well as compensating you for the cost of lost wages.

To find out more about your rights and options, call 1-877-363-6148 today or request more information online.

 

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