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Pensacola Legal Blog

On the El Faro sinking and unseaworthiness

We want to discuss the term "unseaworthy" today. It is an important concept, and one that can allow those with legal standing to file an admiralty and maritime claim against those who may have been negligent in letting a boat or ship go out to sea. The case that is relevant in this regard is the sinking of the El Faro.

The El Faro was a large freighter ship that was built in 1974. It was functional and in operation until late 2015, when it went out on a voyage. 33 people were on board the El Faro, as well as hundreds of shipping containers. A day after the ship left, the El Faro was lost at sea as it approached the eyewall of a hurricane. The ship lost propulsion and sank.

Runaway boat injures 10 people, damages docks

A boat accident in Indiana shows why practicing good boating behavior and being responsible out on the water is essential to having a fun time out on the water and keeping everyone safe. The accident occurred on a lake where a 20-year-old was piloting a recreational boat. The young man was intoxicated, and in his altered state of mind he made a poor decision: he entered a turn at a high speed.

As a result of this decision, the boat turned violently and flung all of the people on the boat into the water. The boat then ran amok for an unknown amount of time, crashing into boats and docks along the way. Ten people ended up suffering injuries as a result of the bizarre boat accident, and four of them suffered serious injuries. The 20-year-old was arrested for boating under the influence of alcohol.

4 steps to take after a boating accident

The blue waters of the gulf, coupled with the white sandy beaches, bring millions of tourists to the Gulf Coast every year. While there are a lot of great recreational activities to enjoy in this part of the country, there’s always the risk of accident that we all need to be aware of.

According to the United States Coast Guard, there were 4,463 recreational boating accidents in 2016. This equates to about a dozen boating accidents every single day. When you add to that the fact that Florida is often listed as a state with the most boating accidents, the Gulf Coast unfortunately witnesses a large number of collisions every year.

Shipyard accident leaves 1 dead, officials begin investigation

While the following story did not occur here in Florida, it still exemplifies the stunning dangers that people who work in shipyards face on a daily basis. Today's story comes from Philadelphia, where a person was killed by falling cargo containers at a shipyard.

A 52-year-old man was the victim of the accident, which seems to show three cargo containers that tipped over and fell on their sides. A white pickup truck was also crushed in the accident. Emergency personnel responded to the scene but few other details were given. At this moment in time, there is no word as to why the containers tipped over and fell on the 52-year-old.

FFWCC: 20 percent jump in boating fatalities in Florida last year

"I liken it to car crashes because, in my view after 25 years as an officer, inattention is probably a causal factor in the overwhelming majority of car crashes," says a former police officer who suffered head and neck injuries in a 2005 boating accident.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, either inattention or improper lookouts was the No. 1 cause of boating accidents in the state last year. That was followed by:

  • Operator inexperience
  • Excessive speed
  • Alcohol intoxication

Coast Guard report shows rising boating accidents across nation

A report from the U.S. Coast Guard shows that boating accidents and deaths in relation to boating accidents are on the rise. This is a particularly serious problem here in Florida, as our state leads the nation in boating accidents. In 2014, there were 581 boating accidents in the state of Florida. Just two years later, in 2016, that number skyrocketed to 684 boating accidents.

Across the nation, boating accidents have increased 7.3 percent from 2015 to 2016. In addition, boating deaths have increased 12 percent over the same time period.

USS Fitzgerald accident under investigation

The "Internet of Ships" has garnered a lot of discussion in the wake of the fatal boat accident between the USS Fitzgerald and the ACX Crystal in southwest Japan. That busy area is one of the most congested shipping lanes, and the tragic accident claimed seven lives aboard the USS Fitzgerald. A full investigation is underway -- but internet sleuths have already latched onto the Automated Identification System (AIS) data provided by the Crystal in an effort to figure out what went on during the fateful collision.

AIS has been called the "Internet of Ships." It was created in the late 1990s and it using radio-based location data so that ships can see where they are headed and where other ships are. In our source article, you can see screenshots of how AIS data can be used to locate ships and track their courses. Additionally, you can see just how crowded the shipping lane is where the accident occurred.

Cruise ship 'jolts,' leaves 16 passengers with injuries

A cruise ship accident in the Pacific Northwest left 16 people injured and plenty of questions left unanswered. The incident occurred as a cruise ship, the Norwegian Sky, was entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca which separates Washington's Olympic Peninsula and Canada's Vancouver Island. As this occurred, the ship violently jolted to the side, and the ship appeared to be capsizing -- though thankfully it did not.

However, what did occur was still serious. Because of the strong shift in the boat's position on the water, objects came flying off the walls and the people on board were bombarded with them. No serious injuries were reported, but some of the 16 injured people suffered broken bones.

South Korea crane accident highlights dangers of shipyards

A crane accident at a shipyard in South Korea in early May left six people dead and 22 people with injuries. Three of the people who suffered injuries were described as being "severely" injured. The crane fell on a well bay module at a Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard, but the crane itself was helping build an oil platform for a French energy company, Total.

It will take some time for the investigation into this crane accident to collect all of the details necessary to present a full explanation of the accident. But what is abundantly clear at this time is that many people have had their lives taken or radically changed, and radiating out from that, hundreds of loved ones and family members will be affected by this accident.

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