Dredging Accident: What is the Seaman’s Manslaughter Act?
WLOX-TV reports that a Louisiana company has admitted that it did not properly mark a dredge operation near Deer Island, Mississippi, leading to the death of a residential boater.
The news outlet reports that C.F. Bean, LLC has pleaded guilty to the statute commonly referred to as the Seaman’s Manslaughter Act. With the plea, the company has been ordered to pay $500,000 in fines and has been placed on five years of probation.
The boater was killed in October when his fishing vessel struck a submerged object off the eastern coast of Deer Island. The boat’s motor allegedly broke loose and went into the vessel, fatally injuring the man. C.F. Bean, LLC operates a dredge near Deer Island, which is associated with a restoration project at the Mississippi State Port at Gulfport.
Despite requirements to properly mark items, including pipelines in the area, investigators say the company failed to do so, resulting in the man’s death.
“Boaters depend on dredging companies to properly follow rules for marking their dredge operations, so that mariners can avoid hazards that can prove highly dangerous or even fatal, as was the sad situation here,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory Davis following the guilty plea, according to WLOX. “It is hard to understand how an experienced maritime business like this could have failed in its duty at such a high cost.”
The Seaman’s Manslaughter Act allows criminal charges to be filed when misconduct or negligence results in deaths involving passengers on vessels, on waters within the jurisdiction of the United States. Those who can be charged under the act include ship officers, owners, inspectors and corporate managers.
In addition to criminal charges filed against those who are considered negligent under the Seaman’s Manslaughter Act, it is not uncommon for victims’ family members to file lawsuits against those connected to a fatal accident, in an attempt to seek damages.
What to Do Following a Maritime Death or Boating Accident
It is sad that a company’s negligence resulted in the death of a boater. If your loved one is killed in a boating accident, it may be a good idea to contact an experienced maritime attorney, because the laws can be incredibly complicated.
In the video above, attorney Carolyn Latti discusses what you should do following a boating accident. Continue to follow our blog for more maritime injury news, including information about dredging accidents.