Boston Ferry Accident One of Many Reasons for Concern

Boston Ferry Accident One of Many Reasons for Concern

Three stories about ferry accidents within a week’s time call attention to the dangers that not only passengers face on these ships, but crewmembers as well.

On November 2, 2012, the Bellingham Herald reported that an Alaska Marine Highway ferry ramp operator was injured after a support cable snapped on the passenger loading ramp she was standing on. The Herald reported that the woman fell about 20 feet, landing on a damaged ramp. TJ Tjomsland, a Sitka, Alaska resident, told the Herald that there was speculation that the woman sustained a head injury, but other witnesses said she seemed to have hurt her back. The accident delayed the departure of the 418-foot M/V COLUMBIA.

This video shows a passenger’s experience on the PROVINCETOWN III when the fast ferry ran up on the Nixes Mate sandbar in Boston Harbor on August 25, 2012. On November 8, 2012, Professional Mariner magazine reported that Bay State Cruise Co. spokesman Michael Glasfeld said the captain, who had been training for about a month, missed navigation aids and was fired as a result of the accident. “It appears to us that it was a matter of operator error, clear and simple,” Glasfeld told Professional Mariner.

US Coast Guard lead investigator Lieutenant James Pritchard of Sector Boston told Professional Mariner that none of the 145 passengers or five crewmembers were injured and the damage was limited to the two propellers, but he could not discuss any findings—including the results of drug and alcohol tests—because the case is still under investigation.

In Washington state, no one was injured in a major electrical accident on board the M/V WALLA WALLA that KIRO-FM reported could disable the ship for years. KIRO reported that the accident “melted huge chunks of steel and copper, and blasted through a part of the motor that provides the power to turn the shaft and propellers.” An expert source who spoke to KING-TV on condition of anonymity said “the accident was unprecedented and people could have easily died.” Two sources told KING that “human error is likely to blame” in the M/V WALLA WALLA accident.

“In all my years in the maritime industry I’ve never seen anything like this,” the source told KING. “It sent chills up my spine because of the potential to kill somebody. I can’t put enough emphasis on how close they came to killing someone.”

Latti & Anderson LLP has represented passengers who have been injured boarding or departing ferries as well as those involved in vehicle collisions and falls on these ships. Injured ferry workers are also entitled to protection under the Jones Act, and the verdicts and settlements our firm has obtained for seamen hurt on ferries includes a $920,172 verdict for a client who sustained torn cartilage as a result of a fight between two other crewmembers.

You can find more information about how Latti & Anderson LLP helps injured passengers on our website, and you can contact our firm at (800) 392-6072, or complete the form on this page to let our Jones Act attorneys review your case if you or a loved one was hurt or killed on a ferry.

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