How Important Are Cargo Load Limits?

Did you know that there are cargo load limits for vessels like ferries? Remember, cargo can include the number of passengers onboard a vessel. Unfortunately, some deadly maritime accidents occurring worldwide recently have highlighted how important these load limits are.

Remember, each vessel is built with specific licensed load limits. In addition to this, operators in most countries are required to record passenger counts and monitor load weight. This is done to prevent capsizing accidents.

One accident in particular highlights the importance of cargo load limits. The capsizing of the 6,825-ton Sewol in South Korea resulted in the death of 304 passengers and crewmembers. According to Professional Mariner, the owner of the ferry, Chonghaejin Marine, did a very poor job of counting passengers and making sure the numbers met vessel-licensing limits.

Due to negligence, the company’s chief executive and four employees are being charged with improperly loading too much cargo and failing to provide safety training for the crew. It should be noted that the vessel was licensed to carry 987 tons of cargo but was carrying about 3,800 tons of cargo when it capsized.

In the U.S., local and state authorities, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard may monitor cargo load limits. Operators who fail to record or keep track of these limits may subject themselves to substantial fines. Many operators have begun to use technology like turnstile sensors and video to monitor the number of passengers onboard vessels, as a way to make them safer.

Speaking to an Attorney About a Ferry Accident

Sadly, many ferry accidents occur due to the negligence of operators, who may be profit driven and overload them, as well as captains and crewmembers. Aside from death, capsizing incidents and accidents caused by overloading can result in severe personal injuries. If you have been injured in an accident onboard a vessel, it may be wise to speak to a maritime attorney.

In the video above, our own David Anderson explains the importance of obtaining legal counsel in maritime law.

Latti & Anderson LLPNationwide Maritime Attorneys

[Latti’s Little Extra: In 2009, an estimated 103 million passengers were carried aboard U.S. ferries.]