Who is Responsible When Boats Collide?
Seventeen nautical miles off the Shinnecock Inlet, a commercial fishing boat and a sport fishing boat collided. The commercial vessel, the Elizabeth J, was fishing for scallops when the crew saw an approaching vessel appear on radar. The oncoming sport fisher, the Nina Marie, was moving at a speed of about 20 knots in fog that reduced visibility down to about a quarter of a mile.
The Nina Marie is reported as hitting the Elizabeth J, causing both fishers to take on water. One crewman from the Elizabeth J was thrown overboard during the collision, and rescued by the crew of the Nina Marie. However, the Nina Marie was evacuated when it became clear the ship was sinking. When a leak was discovered on the commercial fisher, The Elizabeth J called the Coast Guard, which directed the fishing vessel Adventurous to pick up the five people and take them back to shore.
So Who Was Responsible for the Accident?
After the accident, the captain of the Nina Marie apologized for his carelessness, but the owner of the Elizabeth J still has plans to take the other vessel to court. “We have right of way, number one, and two, the captain said he spotted the sporty on the radar and made calls to try to notify him,” The Elizabeth J’s owner said of his own captain’s efforts. “I’ve got a boat at the bottom of the ocean and five guys who are out of work now.”
Thankfully, it seems no one was seriously injured, but at least one boat sunk as a result of this accident. Hiring a maritime attorney and starting an investigation is an important step when dealing with boating accidents. Be sure to choose experienced counsel like Latti & Anderson if you have a collision with another boat.
Latti & Anderson LLP—Nationwide Maritime Attorneys