Offshore InjuryBlog

Arnold & Itkin Represents Worker in Tugboat Sinking Accident

Just under two weeks before Christmas of 2015, the small crew aboard tugboat Spence braved a narrow escape from the sinking vessel. Tugboat Spence was en route to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from Cartagena Colombia, pulling a barge behind it. Before setting sail, the tugboat had undergone a few repairs and inspection before it was declared seaworthy for the voyage.

By the second day of the trip, the stern of the tugboat had flooded, causing Spence to tilt to the right (starboard). The back of the boat quickly began to sink, forcing the crew members to take quick action. They placed a May Day call, but got not answer. They put on life jackets and came up with the plan to steer the tugboat towards the barge they were pulling.

Crew Thinks Fast, Heads for Barge

Even though the tugboat was listing and taking on more water, the crew was able to steer it close enough to the barge for evacuation. The boat was rising and falling very sharply with the swell and unstable due to flooding in the back. The crew members on board had to time their jumps as best as possible. All four were able to make the jump across to the barge, but several injuries were sustained, including broken ribs and a dislocated knee.

Out at Sea for 14 Hours

The crew was only able to bring their cell phones (which had no service) and the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) onto the barge with them. They watched as the tugboat sank further and had to spend the night on the barge. The crew had no food, water, or shelter for the 14 hours they were stuck out on the barge in the open sea.

The following day, a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter rescued the crew. They were checked out by medical staff, then received further medical care when they returned to Cartagena via a Colombian Naval vessel.

Arnold & Itkin Takes Legal Action for Injured Tugboat Worker

In the sinking of tugboat Spence, our client sustained serious injuries while attempting to board the barge. We are proud to stand up on behalf of this injured seaman and fight for the just compensation they deserve. Our seasoned maritime lawyers are looking closely at the cause of the tugboat accident and determining who is at fault for this dangerous sinking. We will also be looking at several other factors involved to ensure our client can move forward with peace of mind and clarity.

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