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Port of New Orleans sued over damage to oil tanker

Those who work on boats on the nation’s rivers and seas have some of the most dangerous — and important — jobs in the country. Fishing crews help feed millions of Americans, while offshore oil workers keep fuel flowing to homes and cars. While many of the immediate hazards are apparent with machinery and cables, environmental problems also affect maritime workers.

A shipping company is suing the Port of New Orleans and the operator of a city wharf for the damage to a cargo vessel which caused about 2,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil to spill into the Mississippi River. The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the incident in which two tug boats were directing the vessel into a berth when it collided with the remnant of an old docking system.

The suit claims the old equipment “acted like a can opener” on the vessel’s hull, opening the starboard bunker tank and spilling oil into the river. The river was above a flood stage at the time and had to be partially closed to other river traffic while the fluids were cleaned up.

The ship’s operator is suing for the damage to the ship and any other liabilities towards the spill, as well as any other compensation the court allows. If there are any significant injuries to the crew from the incident, this may also be part of the liability claim.

Everyone who works at a dock or on a tanker or a barge is at risk of injury when something goes wrong. If you suffer an accident while working at sea, on an oil tanker, or on the docks, there may be several different types of compensation available to you. An attorney with experience handling harbor and dock accidents can help you understand all the possible avenues you can take.