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 vessels involved. Sayreville Police Detective Jeremy Berry said McQuade was employed by Hainesport-based Hydro-Marine Construction, although his length of time with the company was unknown.
Berry said the details of the accident remain under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and were not being released by the Sayreville Police Department. The Courier News reported that the Morgan Bridge is owned by New Jersey Transit Rail Operations, and the agency requested a bridge closure to facilitate structural track repairs at the bridge for two weekends in February. Disco said that OSHA was taking the lead in the investigation because “it was not a maritime accident.”
While not all of the details about this tragic death have been made available, McQuade’s immediate family may look into the possibility of filing a wrongful death lawsuit against whichever party the investigation finds was negligent. While McQuade was not considered a crewmember on either the barge or the tugboat involved in this incident, injured workers and their families should know an individual who works on a vessel and does a vessel’s work relating to the ship’s function or mission at least 30 percent of the time may be considered a seaman under maritime law. In such a case, the injured seaman or the family of a deceased worker could recover damages under the Jones Act.
Latti & Anderson LLP helps injured seamen in cases involving ports throughout the United States and from all over the globe, and you can learn more about tug and barge accidents by visiting our website. If you or a loved one sustained catastrophic injuries while working on a vessel, contact our firm right now at (800) 392-6072 to schedule a free initial consultation or fill out the form on this page to have our Jones Act lawyers review your case.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Jones Act attorneys
Latti & Anderson’s Little Extra: According to the American Waterways Operators, a typical inland barge has a capacity 15 times greater than one rail car and 60 times greater than one semitrailer.