The Cause of Maritime Accidents
Maritime accidents are often more devastating than accidents in other occupations. This is due to a few factors: for one, many maritime accidents occur a long distance from the nearest aid. The lag time between the injury and help arriving creates far worse consequences. Another reason is that maritime workers often deal with dangerous machinery in difficult weather, increasing the chances of a truly horrible accident. While there are many offshore accidents and injuries, there are a few worth mentioning repeatedly because they occur too often and carry dangerous consequences.
Commercial Fishing Accidents
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has declared commercial fishing for years to be the most dangerous job in the United States. In a 10-year period, 545 fisherman were killed while at sea. Over half of the casualties were the result of a “vessel disaster,” such as crashing, sinking, a fire, or some kind of mechanical failure. A third were from falling overboard, which can be caused by a combination of poor weather and dangerous deck conditions.
The causes of a commercial fishing accident include:
- Slippery surfaces
- Dangerous weather
- Uninspected equipment
- Poorly-maintained vessel
Oil Platform Accidents
Oil platform accidents are some of the single most deadly incidents at sea. The Deepwater Horizon disaster, which claimed 11 lives and injured 16, comes to mind as the most famous of these incidents. However, even more devastating and recent explosions have occurred. Pemex, a Mexican drilling company, lost 37 employees in an explosion in 2013.
Explosions can be caused by a number of things—most cite the handling of dangerous and flammable chemicals as the cause for many explosions. However, drilling equipment is designed to handle these chemicals. The more crucial cause is faulty or unexamined equipment which operates far below standard quality.
Marine Cargo Accidents
In the first month of 2015, 5 cargo ships experienced terrible accidents, many of which were due to improperly secured cargo. Improper weight distribution and handling often leads to capsizing or sinking, like in the case of the Cemfjord. This vessel was transporting cement, but capsized due to a combination of poor weather and unsafe weight distribution. Eight crew members were presumed dead after an extensive search found no trace of the crew.
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Ultimately, maritime equipment is designed to handle poor weather, dangerous chemicals, or large amounts of cargo. However, when this equipment is improperly used or maintained, it becomes unsafe for workers. In the end, the general cause behind all of these accidents is negligence. Companies are responsible to train and equip their workers properly.
When companies fail to do this, the victims of their negligence have the right to hold them accountable. Whether you have been injured or have lost a loved one to a maritime accident, the law has equipped you to retrieve compensation from the parties responsible. Legal action not only provides you with the resources to move forward, but shows employers that they must prioritize the lives and safety of their workers above anything else.
You are entitled to justice—contact the offshore injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin.