Under ordinary circumstances, a vessel should never capsize or sink—especially with crewmembers or other seamen on board. Yet, capsizing and sinking accidents don’t just happen, but they happen frequently. So, why is this the case? When a vessel capsizes or sinks, what company is responsible? Most importantly, what are injured workers’ and families’ legal rights? Why Vessels Capsize and Sink (When They Shouldn’t) Vessels capsize and sink for a variety of different reasons. While these are occasionally freak accidents that involve sudden storms or rogue waves, there are often much simpler and more straightforward explanations. In fact, in most cases, when a vessel capsizes or sinks, it is because of an issue with the vessel itself. Human error is a common factor as well. Some examples of the most common causes of capsizing and sinking accidents include: Failure to Account for Weather or Sea Conditions – These days, there is almost no excuse for a vessel heading into a storm or into sea conditions that it is not equipped to handle. Captains and crewmembers should chart the vessel’s course using up-to-date satellite and radar imagery, and they should alter the course when necessary to avoid unsafe conditions on the water. On the same token, companies must avoid forcing captains to steer their vessels into hazardous conditions in an effort to avoid delays. Collisions with Other Vessels or Stationary Objects – Collisions with other vessels or stationary objects such as day markers and underwater pipelines can cause vessels to take on […]
The Jones Act is a federal law that governs the liability of vessel operators and marine employers for work-related injuries or the death of an employee.