Situated along the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River, Louisiana is the perfect state for the maritime industry, boasting the fourth largest shipping port in the world, the Port of South Louisiana. In addition, the Port of New Orleans is the nation’s leading cargo-handling seaport. In order to make the maritime industry run smoothly, Louisiana depends on a host of maritime workers, from fishermen, longshoremen, deck hands, and more. These jobs can be a rewarding and lucrative experience, but also come with dangerous risks, and without the proper protective gear and safe vessels, the chances of accidents and injuries increase significantly.
Maritime Accidents and Injuries in Louisiana
Commercial fishing is one of the leading careers for maritime workers in Louisiana. According to the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS), Louisiana has several profitable commercial fishing ports, including Golden Meadow, Leeville, and Intracoastal City.
Commercial fishermen in Louisiana spend long hours on the Gulf of Mexico, working under strenuous conditions. The work itself is dangerous enough, yet working aboard an unseaworthy vessel doubles the risks of accidents and injuries. Sadly, some Louisiana maritime employers would rather cut costs and send their workers out on unsafe vessels rather than take the time to make sure everyone is safe beforehand. These types of negligent acts have caused arrays of injuries that could have otherwise been prevented.
Over half of all commercial fishing fatalities in the United States occur due to vessel sinkings, fires, or capsizing. Inclement weather is commonly the main reason for these types of accidents, yet it’s the obligation of employers to ensure that their workers aren’t sent out to sea when severe weather warnings are looming. Falling overboard is another common reason for commercial fishing fatalities, and unfortunately, an unseaworthy vessel is the cause of many overboard accidents. For example, if a seaman slips and falls on a slippery deck that wasn’t properly taken care of or gets hit by a broken piece of machinery, the vessel may be considered unseaworthy.
Crabbing is also a lucrative profession in Louisiana, with over 20 million pounds of crab being pulled in by Louisiana crabbers alone each year. However, crabbing is extremely dangerous and with unseaworthy vessels and improper training, accidents and injuries are bound to happen. Some of the most common crab boat accidents in Louisiana include getting limbs snagged in nets and fishing gear as well as falling overboard.
If You’ve Been Injured in Louisiana
Keep in mind that employers are legally obligated to protect their seamen by providing safe vessels and proper safety training. If you rights were violated and you were injured on the job, your employer may be liable for damages. Along with maintenance and cure benefits, you may also be entitled to compensation under general maritime law and the Jones Act. For more information and to understand your options, consult with an experienced maritime attorney before signing any insurance paperwork. For additional resources on benefits and rights, see our article Maritime Rights and Compensation.