Another Sandy Hook Pilot Killed in Ladder Incident

ladder incident, harbor pilot

For the second time this year, a Sandy Hook marine pilot has lost his life while attempting to climb from the pilot vessel to the ship.  In January, Maritime Injury Guide reported on the death of a Sandy Hook harbor pilot who fell as he climbed the ladder from the pilot vessel to a cargo ship.  Now, the Sandy hook community is mourning the loss of yet another harbor pilot due to a tragic maritime injury.

Second Harbor Pilot Killed in Ladder Incident

In August, a second harbor pilot was killed in a ladder incident.  While boarding a tanker heading into the Port of New York and New Jersey, the pilot fell from the ladder and landed on the deck of the pilot vessel below.  The New York City Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to the scene.  The pilot was given CPR and he was transferred to Staten Island University North Hospital in crucial condition.  Sadly, he did not survive his injuries.

The pilot had worked at the Port of New York and New Jersey for over eight years.  He was a member of the Sandy Hook Pilots Association.  The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the ladder incident.

Hazards of Being a Harbor Pilot

Both of these harbor pilots died while attempting to board a larger ship from the pilot vessel.  Sadly, such ladder incidents are not uncommon in the industry.  When a harbor pilot transfers to a larger ship to pilot it into port, he or she must climb a pilot or accommodation ladder built onto the side of the ship.  The ladder leads to a trapdoor designed for pilots to board the ship.

Because of the hazardous nature of these transfers, SOLAS V Regulation 23 mandates specific guidelines and rules for using pilot ladders.  Unfortunately, many harbor pilots report that pilots do not always follow safety guidelines.

The American Pilots’ Association issued a letter earlier this year warning harbor pilots about the danger of improperly rigged trapdoors.  Trapdoors use a combination of a pilot ladder and an accommodations ladder.  The letter says,

“If the ladder is hung from the bottom of the accommodations ladder platform, the arrangement requires a pilot to pull himself or herself up through the trapdoor while twisting to get a secure footing on the platform.”

It is believed that this recent harbor pilot’s death is the result of attempting this maneuver.

Fall Injuries One of the Worst Hazards in Maritime Industry

Slip, trip and fall injuries are among the worst hazards in the maritime industry.  Just by the nature of the environment, maritime workers must battle slippery surfaces.  They also must deal with decks and ladders that sway with the waves and movement of the ship.  These two environmental conditions can lead to a host of possible hazards, such as:

  • Slick surfaces
  • Loose ladders
  • Lack of guardrails
  • Loose lines moving across the deck
  • Cargo that is loose can shift
  • Equipment that is not properly secured can swing or move

These hazards can cause serious problems for maritime workers, and can result in serious injuries.  Some of the more common injuries that maritime workers suffer in slip, trip or fall accidents include:

  • Sprains
  • Torn ligaments
  • Knee injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Shoulder or neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Concussion
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis

Unfortunately, there is also a risk that a slip, trip or fall accidents can result in fatal injuries.

What to Do after a Ladder Incident

If you work in the maritime industry and suffer injuries in a ladder incident, you may find yourself battling pain, the need for medical care and the inability to work.  This can cause you and your family a great deal of hardship.

Fortunately, maritime workers who are injured on the job may qualify for certain benefits under the Jones Act.  Injured maritime workers may qualify for compensation or coverage of:

  • Medical care
  • Maintenance and cure
  • Lost income
  • Rehabilitation and therapy
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental or emotional anguish

To find out what benefits or compensation you may qualify for, call Maritime Injury Guide.  Our team of legal professionals can help you protect your rights and get the coverage that you need to recover and move on after a ladder incident.