Two Fisherman Hospitalized Due to Poisonous Gas

Two Maine fishermen were hospitalized after nearly suffocating due to poisonous gas created by rotting fish.

One crewmember was undertaking his duties in the hold of the boat when he suddenly was overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas created by the rotting fish. He lost his balance and fell to the bottom of the hold. Another crewmember who witnessed the fall made efforts to rescue his shipmate, but he too was overcome by the gas.

Both crewmembers were rescued by a fellow crew member on the vessel. They were rushed to the hospital, although the first victim was later flown to another hospital that was more able to treat his injuries.

Vessel owners and fishing corporations have an obligation to make sure that their employees work in a safe environment. Hydrogen sulfide is a known danger in fishing operations as it formed from rotting organic material of the fish and shellfish in a closed space like a void space in a fishing vessel.  When opening a void or confined space on a fishing vessel, employers and owners need to set up strict rules and guidelines for entering void space with proper safety equipment on and the testing of the space for hydrogen sulfide.  The danger with hydrogen sulfide is that it is odorless and has an immediate impact at high concentrations of knocking a person unconscious, into a coma and death.

Latti & Anderson LLP over the years has represented families under the  Jones Act and general maritime law,who have lost loved ones to hydrogen sulfide poisoning and fisherman who have suffered the effects from hydrogen sulfide poisoning.  If you were injured while working a maritime job, contact our maritime trial lawyers today for a free consultation about your case.

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