Offshore InjuryBlog

Ship Collisions Could Rise with Drop in Oil Prices

Over recent months, the price of oil has slid drastically and marine insurers are now warning of an increased risk of ship collisions as a result. Low oil prices drastically reduce shipping costs for marine transportation companies, which incentivizes them to ramp up their shipping activity. The increased traffic on the waterways and ports could lead to a higher number of ship collisions in 2015 than in previous years.

Common Causes of Ship Collisions

Ship collisions can happen for a variety of reasons, but there are generally four main causes:

  • Human Error – The most common cause of ship collisions is human error. The root cause of the majority of collisions is poor maneuvering by the ship's captain. Another common cause of collisions is confusion about maritime traffic schemes. Traffic schemes are not always consistent from country to country or even port to port. A captain who is unfamiliar with a particular traffic scheme could inadvertently cause a collision, much like a driver might inadvertently drive on the wrong side of the road in a foreign country.
  • Weather – Another common cause of ship collisions in inclement weather. This could include dense fog that limits sight distance or heavy winds that alter a ship's course. Ship captains must constantly monitor weather conditions and avoid inclement weather if at all possible.
  • Mechanical Failures – Ship collisions can also be caused by a mechanical failure to the ship's engine or other essential equipment. If the engine fails, the captain loses maneuvering capabilities.
  • Infrastructure Problems – The least common cause of ship collisions occur because of a problem onshore. For example, a draw bridge that was not lifted quickly enough or was lowered too soon could cause a ship to collide with it.

Injuries Caused by Ship Collisions

When ships collide, the effects can be catastrophic. In addition to the risk of injury from the initial impact, crewmembers must also be prepared to abandon the ship if it begins to sink. Past ship collisions have caused the vessel to sink in a matter of minutes, leaving the crew very little time to safely abandon the ship. If you have been injured during a ship collision, contact a skilled maritime attorney to learn about your legal rights. At Arnold & Itkin, our team of maritime attorneys has experience litigating nearly every type of offshore accident. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.

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