On May 31, six men set out on a deep-sea fishing excursion aboard the F/V SOUTHERN COMFORT. Moments in, the vessel ran aground and began taking on water.
According to The Express-Times, Captain Albert G. Stork was preparing to take the 38-foot vessel beyond Barnegat Light Inlet’s north jetty of rocks when it struck a partially submerged boulder at about 7:45 a.m. The boulder tore a hole in the ship’s hull, and as water began pouring in, Captain Stork radioed the Coast Guard for help. Realizing the ship would eventually go under, he and the others put on lifejackets and inflated a lifeboat. Chief Warrant Officer Jay Greiner, commanding officer of the Barnegat Light station, has praised Captain Stork for providing passengers with a safety briefing before leaving the dock.
The water was reportedly knee-level when the men spotted the Coast Guard responders’ lights. Rocks prevented responders from getting close to the doomed vessel, so the six men climbed into the inflatable lifeboat and made their way to a rescue craft. Fortunately, no one was injured. Following the successful rescue operation, the F/V SOUTHERN COMFORT floated away from the jetty and sank.
This particular maritime accident illustrates how important it is for fishing vessel owners and employers to require captain and crew every month to practice emergency drills. For many vessels, the emergency drills are mandated and can include drills from donning survival suits to practicing many overboard drills. Monthly emergency drills are the best mechanism to prepare the crew to handle an emergency situations like sinkings and man overboard and to avoid injury and loss of life. In the case of the sinking of the clamming vessel the F/V CAPE FEAR, liability focused on the failure of the Defendant to do monthly emergency drills.
Fishing accident victims may be entitled to compensation for injuries caused by negligence or unseaworthiness, including lack of proper safety procedures or equipment. Latti & Anderson LLP has handled many cases of vessel sinkings where the lack of safety procedures and safety equipment have caused injury and death. Were you hurt while working on a fishing vessel? Contact a Boston maritime attorney today to learn about your legal rights.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers