The U.S. Coast Guard had an interesting run-in in 2014 with a man running in an inflatable bubble just off the coast of Miami, Florida. The vessel, which the Coast Guard has named a “HydroPod,” resembles more of a hamster wheel with a transparent plastic bubble in the middle and is made to run on…

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On Monday, we discussed the sinking of the El Faro cargo ship off the coast of the Bahamas, with 33 crewmembers on board and who are believed to have died. As we noted, lawsuits are being filed in connection to the alleged sinking, with family members claiming negligence on the part of operator TOTE Maritime.…

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Recently, the U.S. Coast Guard had to rescue a crewmember from a boat near the Texas coast after he reportedly suffered from smoke inhalation. According to Professional Mariner, the Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a call on August 20 from the crew of the 50-foot towing vessel Kennedy Grace, which was towing the motor vessel…

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Can the Coast Guard Suspend an Operator’s License? In a blog post last month, we explained how overcrowding on ferries and the operation of vessels in poor conditions can lead to safety issues. It should be noted that many of the same rules and regulations that apply to ferries also pertain to other vessels such…

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The Jones Act has recently come under fire as businesses, oil refiners and think tanks push for repeal of the law in upcoming sessions. However, the Jones Act does more than just provide a cause of action for workers harmed by their employers – it protects American jobs. How Does the Jones Act Protect American…

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Am I at Risk of Inert Gas Suffocation in an Enclosed Space? Inert gases like argon don’t do much, which is why they are so useful in manual labor, like welding, where the work has to be performed in a non-combustible atmosphere to prevent fires or, worse, explosions, but while argon can make the work environment…

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Recently, a towing vessel anchored next to two Kirby barges at the Oil Recovery Company Gas Freeing Terminal (ORC), unaware that the barges were being cleared of residual diesel, sparked a fire that spread to the barges and finally resulted in explosions. Three sustained serious burn injuries. How Did This Explosion Happen at an ORC…

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Could Drones Replace Human Captains on Cargo Ships? 75 percent of accidents at sea are caused by human error. A European Union-funded research project called MUNIN is hoping to make the seas a whole lot safer by creating autonomous ships that can sail themselves from port to port using drones. Are Drones Safer than Humans?…

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We all love a day out on the boat. One of the things we must attend to before heading out on the water is getting the boat properly fueled up and ready to go. Refueling a boat is not something to take lightly. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye if you are…

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Alcohol usage is the leading factor in U.S. recreational boating deaths, accounting for 17 percent in 2012. This means that alcohol abuse on the water is responsible for almost one in five American boating deaths. Unfortunately, many people do not seem to be learning from these sobering figures, and another case of drunk boating has…

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Latti & Anderson LLP is a family-owned firm that helps those injured at sea and on land, and has been doing so for more than five decades. Our maritime attorneys represent injured clients from not just New England but all over the country. Partner Carolyn Latti took over the firm her father, Michael Latti, started…

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In far too many marine disasters, life rafts are in fact available for use, but passengers and crews either were not trained in how to deploy the life rafts, or the rafts were inaccessible. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is an international maritime safety treaty, designed to ensure that…

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Even experienced boat operators can fall victim to tragic accidents. But when those accidents could have been avoided by following safety guidelines, it is even more tragic. If tugboat owners and operators fail to follow adequate safety measures, they are putting their lives, as well as the lives of their crews, at serious risk. A…

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Another tragic oil spill has occurred on an American waterway, causing untold ecological damage and risking the lives of the workers who must now struggle to control the oil before it can seep into the area’s drinking water. Duke Energy admitted that it spilled almost 5,000 gallons of diesel into the Ohio River near Cincinnati…

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Whenever we buy a ticket for a ferry, we innately trust that the crew of that boat is prepared for any kind of emergency situation. Of course, we also assume that the crew is trained well enough that no emergencies will arise in the first place, but unexpected accidents do happen. This is why the…

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Having fun on the water is one of the great American pastimes. We all love the feel of spray in our faces and wind in our hair. Over the years, we’ve fallen in love with sailboats, speedboats, water skis, kiteboards, inner tubes and Jet Skis. This summer there is a new contraption to add to…

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When we head out on a boat, we must always remember that we share the water with other boaters. Many boaters seem to think that regular rules no longer apply the moment they leave the dock. The regular rules do still apply: be safe, be courteous, be aware. Common sense should never get left on…

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The safe and efficient operation of a boat is greatly enhanced when mariners are given adequate shore leave. These furloughs are also proven to be beneficial to seafarers’ general wellbeing. Many sailors, however, are routinely denied shore leave by their bosses, because they do not have visas. The Maritime Labour Convention of 2006 (MLC) requires…

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Cruise lines generally sell promises of safe and happy days on the water, far away from such mundane problems as traffic, yard work or crime. But the cruise industry has been rocked in recent years by a number of incidents of sexual assault. Testifying before Congress, Laurie Dishman revealed that a crew member raped her…

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These days, many ambitious travelers choose to sail around the world in a different kind of ship: a working cargo ship laden with thousands of containers, stacked like building blocks on the deck. Cargo ships that allow passengers limit the number to 12 or fewer. This is because having more requires a shipboard physician. In…

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Safe boating is nothing to take lightly. Even the most experienced boaters can fall victim to tragic accidents. Last week, we shared the sad story of a Navy veteran who drowned during a weekend fishing trip. That man was an experienced swimmer and obviously knew his way around watercraft. Calm seas, however, can still be…

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In New Jersey, state law demands that boat operators involved in an accident stop and help any injured persons, assuming they can do so without risking harm to themselves. A new law just signed into existence raises the stakes for leaving the scene of an accident. If the accident results in a death, fleeing the…

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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed three bills this month that should dramatically improve recreational boating safety. Under one bill, anyone born after 1998 will be required to complete a boating safety course before they can operate a boat with a 10 horsepower engine or greater. In a second bill, a person’s boat can be seized…

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A fishing boat entered the restricted waterway around New York’s La Guardia Airport and ran into a light pole on one of the runway extensions. The Port Authority Police Department could see the stranded craft via surveillance cameras, but could not respond because their patrol boats had been docked for the night. The NYPD Harbor…

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The Coast Guard has decided that mariners need to prove continued proficiency in firefighting abilities. After 2016, maritime officers will be required to update their firefighting course work every five years. Sailors’ fire training is currently mandatory for officers who travel internationally, but they only have to take the full course once. After that, they…

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A new state law passed in New York requires boaters to take a safe-boating course. It applies to anyone born after May 1996 — which means that this year, every 18-year-old (or younger) boater must be certified. Violations can result in fines of up to $250. Officials say it is not just the requirement, but…

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Could Improved Training Help Lower Accident Rates? DNV GL, the world’s largest ship and offshore classification society, has declared the dire need for a massive reduction in the number of accidents occurring throughout the shipping industry. Tor Svensen, president of DNV Maritime and Oil & Gas, announced that a trend which had been improving is…

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On January 14, a bill cleared the New Jersey state Senate that would toughen the punishment for leaving the scene of a boating accident that results in a serious or fatal injury. According to the Brick Patch, under the current law, aside from being illegal, there is no set penalty for leaving the scene of…

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Life rafts, and also life boats, are small, rigid or inflatable boats that are stored on ships for emergency evacuations. Commercial ships are required by law to store life rafts, while recreational sailors will often carry inflatable rafts, though some may have small lifeboats. For most commercial ships, life rafts are fitted with a quick-release…

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We concluded our posts relating to the National Safe Boating Council’s 2013 National Safe Boating Week last week by discussing the role that alcohol plays in many fatal boating accidents. With today being Memorial Day, the federal holiday also marks an occasion when several people across the country take to the water for the first…

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Michael McQuade was killed after he became pinned between a barge and the wall of the Morgan Bridge in Sayreville, New Jersey, on February 17. Coast Guard spokesperson Jetta Disco told the Courier News that the incident involved a barge and a tugboat, although the 34-year-old McQuade was not a crewmember of either of the…

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Coast Guard Report Says Crew Responsible for Fatal 2009 Crash Two weeks ago, we noted that the US Coast Guard has saved 56,511 lives since 2000. The Coast Guard estimates that it saves 10 lives and assists 192 people in distress on an average day. While the men and women of the Coast Guard provide…

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The StarNews reported that four crewmembers aboard THE STAR FRASER had to be taken to a hospital with chemical burns after the 614-foot freighter docked the state port in Wilmington, North Carolina. The individuals suffered the burns during a chemical leak aboard the ship while it was at sea. THE STAR FRASER was en route…

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Boston Maritime Attorneys Take Closer Look at Florida Inner Tube Accident WSVN-TV reported that a 14-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy were injured in a boating accident on January 27. The girl was caught in the propeller of a boat after she fell off an inner tube in northern Biscayne Bay off the Julia Tuttle…

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A construction worker discovered the body of 56-year-old commercial fisherman Carl Lewis that washed ashore north of the drawbridge in Chincoteague Island, Virginia on January 22, 2013. WITN-TV reported Lewis was last seen during dinner at a local restaurant the previous night. He was last working aboard the SUSAN ROSE, a privately owned fishing boat.…

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This December 2012 video from Canada’s Global News discusses the eight crewmembers of a Bolivian-flagged, American-owned tugboat who were stranded in the Novia Scotia city of Halifax after rough weather conditions. The Globe and Mail reported that Transport Canada inspectors refused to let the 69-year-old CRAIG TRANS leave Halifax because of “poor living conditions and…

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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that federal prosecutors said a towboat worker’s attack on his captain on the MIRANDA PAIGE put the towboat traveling up the Mississippi River and its crew at risk. An affidavit filed by Coast Guard Investigative Service Special Agent Roger St. Germaine Jr. said that 30-year-old David Donnell Roberts pulled the…

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This New York Post video discusses the SEASTREAK WALL STREET commuter ferry that crashed into a pier in lower Manhattan on January 9, 2013. The New York Police Department said 57 people were injured, one of them critically. A spokesman for the New York Fire Department told the New York Times that the cause of…

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Messenger Post Newspapers (MPN) reported that 36-year-old Jeremy Bittner sustained major injuries to his lower right leg and right foot in a loading dock accident that occurred the day after Christmas. Police told MPN that Bittner works for Admar Supply Company in Rochester, New York, and was returning a forklift to SwiftLift in Victor, New…

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Coast Guard Suspends Search for Two Fishermen Presumed Lost at Sea This video from WCVB-TV discusses a rescue capsule discovered in a Saugus marsh. The Gloucester Times reported that the pod, marked Foxy Lady II on the side, was found around the same time that the US Coast Guard (USCG) called off the night’s search…

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Boston Maritime Trial Lawyers Encourage All Boaters to Celebrate Responsibly During the holiday season, numerous advocacy groups and public service announcements call attention to the dangers of drunk driving. However, with tonight being New Year’s Eve and alcohol being consumed on boats as well as on land, it is important to remember that boating under…

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‘How Long Will It Take to Settle My Jones Act Case?’ Many clients have an understandable concern about how long it will take to settle their Jones Act cases. Because a variety of maritime injuries and circumstances are involved in a Jones Act case, resolution times vary. Some Jones Act cases can be settled in…

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An article in the January 2013 issue of National Fisherman magazine provides a detailed account of an accident this past February in the Bering Sea. The story demonstrates one of the most common causes of maritime accidents: a machinery operator on deck failing to make sure an area is clear and no crewmember is in…

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One man died in a recreational boat collision on December 8, 2012, in the Atlantic Ocean about a mile and a half south of Long Branch, New Jersey. The Princeton Patch reported that 31-year-old Eric Kim died after his 18-foot pleasure craft was struck by the NO SURRENDER, a 36-foot pleasure craft piloted by 44-year-old…

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If seamen or maritime workers sustain injuries because of slip and falls, line breaks or other accidents resulting from employer’s negligence while working on a vessel, the Jones Act and general maritime law allows these individuals to pursue compensation that can be more substantial than workers’ compensation. The Jones Act and general maritime law not…

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Earlier this month, we discussed the role that alcohol can play in some cruise ship injuries, but it is important to remember that operating under the influence is also a common cause of recreational boating accidents. Two recent stories in separate areas of the country demonstrate how piloting a private vessel while intoxicated not only…

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