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Pensacola Legal Blog

Get experienced legal help for your maritime legal matters

At the Law Offices of John W. Merting, we have over 40 years of experience with admiralty and maritime legal matters. Given the complexity of admiralty and maritime legal matters, it can only benefit someone entangled in such a predicament to turn to a knowledgeable and experienced advocate of their rights. And at The Law Offices of John W. Merting, we want to help people with their many different admiralty and maritime issues.

Given the scope of this area of law, it is understandable for people to have questions about what we actually cover. The first and possibly most important factor is recreational boat accidents. Many Pensacola residents own boats, and they can sometimes crash or get into legal trouble. We can help you with these issues.

What you should know about cruise ship food poisoning

A cruise is a unique vacation. It’s a way to take in the expanse of the ocean, the beauty of new sights and the food and culture of different lands. While it’s great to get away and have everything catered to you under one roof, there are a few downsides to cruise lines.

Most people who watch the news have hard about virus outbreaks and food poisoning on cruise ships. When the vacation you’ve been looking forward to is ruined by illness, who is liable for your suffering and damages?

Explosion at shipyard kills 4 workers

While the following shipyard accident didn't happen in Florida (or even the United States) the serious and ultimately fatal nature of the accident makes the incident noteworthy and, thus, important regardless of the country of origin.

An oil tanker that was being constructed in South Korea -- and scheduled to be delivered to Greece in October -- suddenly exploded last month as four people were working on it. All four of the workers were killed. The victims' bodies were recovered and investigators were scouring the scene to look for clues as to why this tanker suddenly exploded. Currently, there are no explanations as to why the tanker unexpectedly exploded. Little else is known about the shipyard or the 74,000-ton oil tanker at this time.

Girl falls off balcony on Carnival cruise ship

A 3-year-old girl slipped off the balcony of a cruise ship recently and suffered injuries that required her to be hospitalized at a U.S. hospital. Thankfully, she was in stable condition aboard the ship after the accident.

According to the story, the girl was with her family on a seven-day cruise to the Bahamas. They were aboard a Carnival cruise ship, and they were returning to Galveston, Texas when the girl fell off a stateroom balcony and down to a lower level on the cruise ship. The girl injured her face in the fall, but few other details about her injuries were made available. Carnival released a statement that mentioned the stable condition of the girl and highlighted the silver lining of the incident.

Some common questions about BUIs

Boating under the influence is a serious problem, and for operators of vessels who engage in this behavior, the ramifications of a BUI can be severe. By both state and federal laws, it is illegal to operate a boat while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The U.S. Coast Guard could stop you boat and check you for operating under the influence in the same manner that a police officer could pull over the driver of a vehicle on suspicion of a DUI.

Furthermore, some waterways and bodies of water can actually have BUI checkpoints, much like a DUI checkpoint on the roads. Probable cause is still an important factor, but in the state of Delaware, probable cause isn't even necessary to pull a boat over on suspicion of BUI.

Boat accident sends 3 to the hospital in Miami

A boat accident in Miami, Florida left three people with injuries that required hospitalization. Details are a little fuzzy at the moment, but it appears that the boat crashed into a channel marker by the 79th Street Causeway. Emergency responders found the three people on board with serious injuries, including a 14-year-old boy with severe head lacerations. They were all taken aboard a fire rescue boat. One good Samaritan apparently helped one of the people out of the water and back on to their original boat.

The rescue boat then made it ashore before the victims of the accident were transported to ambulances and, eventually, a nearby hospital.

Fatal boat accident in Niceville is under investigation

A boating accident in Niceville, Florida left one person dead and two other people with injuries. The accident happened in the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 20. It appears that two people were sitting on the bow of a boat when the 34-year-old operator of that boat asked them to get into actual seats on the boat. It was at this moment that the boat struck a large, red channel marker, causing serious damage to the vessel and sending people flying.

One of the people that was flung from the boat, a 24-year-old, was killed. Two other people were injured in the crash but have since been released from the hospital. The accident is under investigation and little else is known at this time.

Pensacola Bay Bridge scheduled for 2020 completion

As Pensacola residents are aware, the Pensacola Bay Bridge was built in 1960 and deemed structurally inefficient recently by engineers. After a long development and negotiation process, the new Pensacola Bay Bridge is scheduled to be completed in 2020. The $400 million bridge will have two three-lane sections for northbound and southbound travel, as well as paths for bicyclists and pedestrians.

While this all sounds great, constructing a bridge is no small feat. There are many risks involved with building a bridge, especially an expansive one like the Pensacola Bay Bridge. For example, a bridge recently collapsed in Sweden while it was under construction. Details are sparse, but what is known is that 12 people were injured in the bridge collapse. Four of the injured suffer harm that was deemed "serious."

Don’t touch that dial: Stay tuned for the one thing you must do after a cruise ship accident

Baby boomers and pop culture enthusiasts will no doubt remember many a Saturday night watching the hi-jinks on the popular show television show, The Love Boat.

Whether you were interested in Gopher’s many mis-haps or Julie’s new beau, The Love Boat always offered great fun. Sailing with Captain Stubing was safe, secure and benignly adventurous. Who wouldn’t love to ignite a romance on an ocean-bound vessel, complete with cabaret shows, buffets and poolside antics?

Cruise ship accidents can have horrible effects

Imagine boarding a cruise ship as you prepare to enjoy a long vacation. The wonder of the vessel and being out on the high seas fills you with excitement. You've been waiting for this trip to come around for a long time, and now that it's finally here, you don't think anything could derail this moment. But shortly after the cruise ship sets sail, an incident does exactly that -- the trip is derailed.

Now, you can fill in the blank as to what that incident was. It could have been a collision between the cruise ship and the coastline or the seabed. It could have been an assault on the cruise ship, perpetrated by a fellow passenger or a member of the ship's crew. It could have been someone falling overboard. It could have been an illness, pathogen or food poising that swept through the cruise ship. No matter what the incident was, there will be questions as to the liability involved in the incident.

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