Offshore InjuryBlog

Defective Cable May Have Caused Fatal Lifeboat Accident

Investigations into the February 10 cruise ship lifeboat accident that killed five crew members have pointed toward the failure of the lifeboat hoisting cable. If unsafe equipment was responsible for the fatal accident onboard the Thompson ship, the families of the deceased may be able to seek compensation from the vessel operators for their tragic losses.

According to experts, if one side of the lifeboat hoisting cable failed, it would have resulted in the downward swinging of the lifeboat, even as the entire load of the lifeboat was taken up by the other lifeboat davit arm and cable. The combination of swinging and a doubled load on the still-functioning lifting cable could have caused the cable to release from the boat, allowing it to flip and fall into the water. By contrast, a simple release of the hook attaching the lifeboat to the cruise ship would merely have resulted in the vessel falling directly downward; it would not have flipped over.

There have been other recent examples of lifeboat failures. In 2011, a Holland America cruise ship’s lifeboat plummeted off the boat and dangled high above the water. That accident, which killed a 29 year old passenger, occurred because the winch used to raise the vessel did not stop when it came to full hoist, causing the cable to snap. In that case, the operator of the lifeboat was foolishly relying on an emergency stop device to stop the winch from hoisting when it reached full hoist. When the emergency stop failed, the entire system broke down. In that case, both system failure and poorly trained crew members caused a fatality.

Regardless of whether inexperience or system malfunction causes an accident at sea, victims and their families can and should be compensated for injuries that occur while on cruise ships or other sea going vessels. If you or a loved one was injured on the water, contact the maritime attorneys at Arnold & Itkin today for a free consultation regarding your case.

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