An accident over in Denmark between two vessels prompted a brief investigation, though thankfully it was determined that both vessels were cleared to operate. No one was hurt in the collision, and it appears that no significant damage was done. But what happened?

A cargo ship collided with a ferry that was carrying more than 600 people and 240 cars. The ferry was docked, and thus the collision between the two vessels was blamed on human error on the part of the cargo ship’s operator. It is a stark reminder that even the most specialized and well-trained ship operators can make mistakes.

Shipyard, as we have written before, are inherently dangerous. They are even more dangerous when the people piloting the vessel in a port are negligent or make a mistake. Collisions between two ships can cause extensive damage, let alone risk the lives of the people on board and the people working at the shipyard or port. 

In this particular case, investigators did not declare either vessel unseaworthy, merely declaring that the mistake of the cargo ship’s operator triggered the accident. But that’s what makes this story so important. All it takes is one moment — a lapse in concentration or a failure to properly operate a vessel — and hundreds of lives could be at stake.

When a ship operator is negligent, or a shipyard or port generally fails to uphold the safety regulations they are bound by, then the victims of any accident need to consult with an attorney.

To talk with an attorney with extensive experience handling ship accident claims, contact the Law Offices of John W. Merting.

Source: Maritime Herald, “Ro-Ro cargo ship collided with ferry in Denmark,” Stefani Igaz, Dec. 12, 2016