Boston Maritime Trial Lawyers Review Recent Fishing Accidents
The Star-News reported that the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission’s Division of Law Enforcement investigators are calling the January 5, 2013, death of 34-year-old Wilmington resident Jeremy Myers a commercial fishing accident. Myers was net boat fishing off the coast of Oak Island when he became entangled in a reel on his 21-foot fishing boat. According to the Star-News, his uncle found Myers’ body wrapped in the netting and his head pinned against the fish box after being unable to reach Myers on his cell phone. Myers was dead at the scene when U.S. Coast Guard and Division of Marine Fisheries officials arrived. North Carolina Wildlife officer Matt Criscoe told the Star-News that officers are still investigating the death pending a coroner’s report.
On the other side of the Atlantic, an official report from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) found that the boat in which a fisherman died on January 13, 2012, after falling overboard had deck walls lower than the minimum statutory height. According to the Daily Post, the investigative agency of the United Kingdom Department for Transport called the condition and standard of housekeeping on board at the time “poor,” and said the boat’s owner, skipper and crewmen had an “extremely poor attitude to establishing and maintaining a safe working environment on board the vessel.”
The MAIB report said precautions that could have prevented 25-year-old deckhand Steven Robertson from falling overboard the ST. AMANT scallop dredger were never put into practice. According to the BBC, the report said it was most likely that Robertson fell over the deck walls, but said it was also possible that he tripped or slipped on fishing gear or equipment stowed on the deck.
Protecting crewmembers from falling overboard should be number one priority for vessel owners and employers in establishing a safe place to work. As required on land, all fishing vessels should be required to have railing that is of a certain height to protect all the crew. Latti & Anderson LLP has handled numerous cases where fisherman and merchant seaman have been seriously injured and even died due to lack of adequate rail height on the vessel.
These accidents are a reminder of not only the types of accidents that can occur on fishing vessels, but also that many accidents at sea are completely preventable. Commercial fishermen are entitled to compensation for any injuries they sustain while working on the water. Our Boston maritime trial lawyers have secured several multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for fishermen and their families, including a recent $1.1 million settlement for the family of deceased crew member who unbeknownst to the entire crew fell off the bow of the fishing vessel while they were shucking scallops on the stern. In that case, it was alleged that railing was not off sufficient height to protect the crew members from falling overboard.
You can find additional information about how our Boston maritime attorneys help commercial fishermen by visiting our website. If you were injured or a loved one was killed while working on a fishing vessel, fill out the form on this page to let our Boston maritime trial lawyers review your case or contact our firm at (800) 392-6072 to talk to Carolyn M. Latti and David F. Anderson.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime attorneys