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Louisiana Maritime Law Blog

The risks of injury or death that maritime workers face are high

Individuals who work in the maritime fields of shipping, transportation, commercial fishing, marine construction or in offshore gas and oil industry are trained to always put safety first. They're taught to do this for a reason. These individuals are at an increased risk of becoming ill, injured or killed by bloodborne pathogens, high voltage, hazardous chemicals, heavy machinery, slips and falls and drowning.

Despite being taught to be safe, maritime workers have some of the highest rates of both nonfatal and fatal injuries of all workers.

The 4 most dangerous aspects of working as an oil rig worker

While onshore oil rig workers don't work at sea, they put their lives on the line for their job just like offshore employees do. In fact, data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that those who work on oil rigs have a higher risk of nonfatal injuries than those who are employed in many other professions.

One factor that puts oil rig workers at risk for getting hurt is fatigue. Employment data compiled by BLS shows that individuals who work in this profession work as many as 12 hours a day for as long as two weeks without any days off. These long hours often leave them feeling fatigued, a factor which affects their reaction times and leaves them more vulnerable to having an accident.

Waiver for Jones Act sent to desk of the President

A waiver for the Jones Act has cleared hurdle No. 1 and is now being sent to the desk of President Donald Trump for final approval. The waiver, which was approved by the United States House of Representatives on Nov. 27 via voice vote, is known as the Coast Guard Authorization Act. This came just two weeks after changes were made to the bill by the United States Senate when approved in that chamber.

If the bill is signed by President Trump, it would permit the replacement of two fishing boats in the Fishermen's Finest fleet with America's Finest. The language of the proposed bill would permit the Coast Guard to conduct a 30-day review to investigate if there were any further violations of the Jones Act. If violations are found, the waiver would be denied.

Woman's death on cruise ship thought to be murder

Many of the facts remain murky concerning the recent cruise ship death of a woman who allegedly was choked and then tossed over the topmost deck of the Royal Princess cruise liner.

The woman, 52, fell or was pushed off of the sixteenth deck of the cruise ship at approximately 4 a.m., while the ship was enroute from Curaçao to Aruba. She hit the lifeboat docked on the seventh deck. The impact severed the victim's leg. It's unclear whether the fall killed her or whether she died as a result of being strangled.

How much is a finger worth?

Our November 2 blog post was about the potential dangers tug boat operators face. A common danger is the loss of a finger or hand. 

While the loss of a limb may be "uncouth" to chat about in polite conversation, talking about dangers on the job, real world injuries and compensation is important. 

Who can file Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act claims?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) was drafted to protect any worker who became disabled while working in the navigable waters of this country. It gives anyone who works in certain industries access to vocational rehabilitation services, medical care and reimbursement of lost wages.

Anyone who works in a traditional maritime occupation, including shipbuilders, breakers and repairers, is covered by the LHWCA. Those who work harbor construction and longshore workers qualify to receive benefits as well. Some non-maritime workers are also covered if their injuries occurred in the navigable waters.

Cruise ship injuries: Were you hurt on your journey at sea?

Louisiana residents love to escape life for a little while by going for a cruise, and the last thing they expect is to get hurt on their vacation at sea. Nevertheless, every cruise ship is fraught with dangers and sometimes cruisers return home with serious injuries.

Other times, they don't even make it home because they died in a catastrophic accident on the boat. When situations like this happen, injured vacationers -- and family members of vacationers who die -- may be able to pursue financial claims that hold the cruise ship company financially responsible for the incident.

What are some common tugboat injuries?

Tugboats are often seen alongside barges, container ships helping to tow them in and out of the harbor, cleaning up an oil spill, hauling away oil or helping film crews working at sea. What many do not know about tugboat crew members, though, is how they often put their health and safety at risk by working long hours and handling such varied tasks.

One injury that deckhands on tugboats have to cautious of is getting their fingers caught underneath the line that they use to keep the boat steady or the winch line that they use to keep a firm grip on their loads. Once it's tied tight to the boat's bow or affixed to what they're towing, it becomes particularly rigid. There are instances when the pressure of these lines has severed deckhands' fingers.

Plans for Jones Act-compliant wind farm service ships announced

This spring, Aeolus Energy Group, an American wind tower services company, announced that it plans to enter the U.S. offshore wind market with a fleet of American-made ships. Now the company, which maintains onshore wind turbines, says it will be partnering with Ulstein, a Norwegian shipbuilder, on the first Jones Act-compliant vessel to provide offshore wind services.

Under the Jones Act, which is part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, any vessel that carries goods between U.S. ports (all 50 states and Puerto Rico) must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be built (or rebuilt) and registered in the U.S.
  • At least three-fourths of the crew must be U.S. citizens.
  • It must be owned by an American company that is controlled predominantly (75 percent) by U.S. citizens.

Maritime accidents pose a unique risk to seamen

Seamen who are injured offshore usually have a long road to recovery. Many of the accidents that occur in this industry are very serious and lead to catastrophic injuries. There is a chance that the seaman might not be able to return to work for a while after the accident. In some cases, they will never be able to return to their job.

We understand that you might not know what options you have now. We are here to help you learn about how the Jones Act and other laws might apply to your case. In order to do this, we need to look at the specific circumstances.

Discuss your rights during a free consultation. There’s no fee unless we win.

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