Fire Disables Tugboat off Rhode Island

Just last week, the 126-foot tugboat Viking was pushing a barge loaded with barrels of gasoline, when an engine fire erupted. The Coast Guard, along with crews from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, responded to distress calls from the disabled tug where it sat helplessly stuck 18 miles east of Rhode Island.

The vessel’s onboard fixed firefighting system was able to extinguish the fire, but the 10-person crew was left stranded several miles offshore. The captain was able to signal the Coast Guard station at Woods Hole, MA at approximately 3:30 p.m., and two relief tugs were dispatched to the scene.

It was many long hours before rescuers could get the disabled tug back to port under escort by another tug, the Sebine, that evening. Luckily, it has been confirmed that none of the crew were injured, and no pollution was released into the water as a result of the accident.

Engine room fires can be catastrophic events which can lead to serious injury and death to crew members. In order to avoid serious injury or death, it is important that the vessel owner and employer, provide proper fire fighting equipment and protection for the crew from more than one means of egress from the engine room, fire blankets, fire fighting clothes to a breathing apparatus. The failure to have the equipment and protection can result in the ship being in unseaworthy condition. If any type of negligence has put your crew in harm’s way, those responsible need to be held accountable, and the crew may be entitled to compensation for any maritime injuries they suffer. Fortunately, unlike other cases, this one did not involve any fatalities, but if it had, the families of the victims might have been entitled to a wrongful death claim.

Latti & Anderson have experience representing crew members injured on water and currently represents the family of a crew member who perished in an engine room fire on a tug.

How Do I Contact a Maritime Attorney?

The Jones Act attorneys at Latti & Anderson, LLP represent maritime accident victims throughout New England and nationwide. Contact us today at (800) 392-6072 for a free consultation with one of our maritime attorneys.

Latti & Anderson’s Little Extra: There are at least four annual tugboat races in the U.S., held in Seattle, New York, Detroit, and on the Michigan-Ontario border.

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