NTSB Recommends Propulsion Failure Alarms Following Investigation of 2010 Staten Island Ferry Accident

On May 8, 2010, the ANDREW J. BARBERI passenger ferry struck the St. George terminal in Staten Island, N.Y. There were 266 people aboard the 310-foot vessel when it experienced propulsion control problems and crashed. Reportedly, crewmembers were unaware of the issue until seconds before the accident. Three people were seriously injured and 40 others suffered minor injuries.

Based on its investigation of this ferry accident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently announced it is recommending that all U.S. passenger vessels with controllable pitch propulsion be equipped with an alarm that will audibly and visually alert operators if the propeller fails to respond to commands. The ANDREW J. BARBERI did not have such an alarm.

The 2010 incident was not the first accident involving this particular ferry. In 2003, the ANDREW J. BARBERI struck a Staten Island pier during rush hour, killing 11 people and injuring 70 others. Following that accident, the New York City Department of Transportation Ferry Division implemented a new safety management system. As NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman points out: “The bad news is that the Barberi experienced an unanticipated and unusual failure in its propulsion system. The good news is that no lives were lost and our investigation showed positive safety improvements following the 2003 accident…”

Victims of ferry accidents need an experienced maritime attorney on their side, as maritime law is very complex. One or more maritime statutes may apply to a case depending on the particular circumstances of the accident and whether the victim was a crewmember or passenger.

Were you hurt in a ferry accident? Contact a Boston maritime attorney today to learn about your legal rights.

Latti & Anderson LLP –Boston maritime trial lawyers

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