New Orleans, a city in the southeastern region of the state of Louisiana, has both inland and coastal waterways available for vessels, such as tugboats, to travel on various work-related missions such as the Mississippi River, Port of Louisiana, and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway between Mississippi and Texas. With its many waterways, including a port, New Orleans is an economic and commercial hub for the Gulf Coast region. Tugboats are a common type of vessel used in New Orleans waterways each year. A Louisiana tugboat accident lawyer explains the various types of tugboats commonly used, as well as common injuries sustained by individuals working on and coming into contact with a tugboat.
Three Common Types of Tugboats in Louisiana
A tugboat is a specialized vessel that helps maneuver other vessels (such as barges, rigs, and other boats) by towing or pushing them. There are three main types of tugboats, including:
- Seagoing tugboats (also known as sea tugs) are often larger vessels that are used for deep-sea or ocean towing. Sea tugs are designed to operate out in the sea for longer periods of time.
- Harbor tugboats are multipurpose vessels that are usually smaller than the seagoing tugboat and have a higher width to length ratio. These tugs are highly maneuverable as they are used to aid other vessels in and out of ports. A lighter tugboat is a smaller type of harbor tug that helps tow barges (also known as lightering) in and out of the harbor.
- River tugboats, also known as towboats or push boats, are used to maneuver barges and are commonly used in rivers and waterways. These tugs are designed with hulls that have a flat front or bow that typically line up with a rectangular stern of the barge it is transporting.
Although tugboats are designed to be sturdy with powerful engines for purposes of pushing and pulling other vessels, they can be involved in dangerous accidents that injure and kill many crewmembers each year. Without a Louisiana tugboat accident attorney to help, many workers do not receive the compensation they need.
Common Accidents and Injuries Caused By Tugboats
Tugboats may be involved in a variety of accidents. For example, if the vessel is experiencing operational issues, capsizing is a very real possibility that can ultimately lead to crewmember deaths. Hazards onboard (which can include slick surfaces due to oil or other substances) can result in crewmember injuries and/or deaths. Also, since tugboats are much smaller than other vessels, there is the possibility of them being obstructed from a larger vessel’s view, which can result in a tragic collision.
The injuries sustained from working aboard a tugboat can include minor cuts and bruises, broken bones/dislocations, spinal cord injuries, herniated disks, traumatic brain injuries, pinch point injuries, drowning and death.
Seek Legal Help from a Louisiana Tugboat Accident Lawyer
A Louisiana tugboat accident lawyer can advise you on maritime laws such as the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) that may apply to your case. Such laws may allow you to recover for damages sustained from your tugboat related injuries such as medical bills, lost wages, costs from rehabilitation, and other economic losses.
The Willis Law Firm assists workers and their families who suffer from maritime-related injuries. Have you or a loved one been injured while on a tugboat in Louisiana? If so, give us a call at 1-800-468-4878 email us through our online webform to find out more about your legal rights and options.