The numbers differ concerning the number of barge and ship accidents that occur every year throughout the world. Every country has implemented different legal procedures to hold ship and barge owners accountable for mishaps as benign as faulty plumbing to as severe as a major crash into an immobile object.

Ships operate at much faster speeds than the speeds generated by barges. However, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), hundreds of people have died because of barge-related accidents.

Barge Accidents

Tugboats pull barges into ports of harbor, which represent the most frequent location for barge accidents. Barges disconnect from tugboats causing them to crash into bridges and other infrastructures located along the coast of the United States, from the mouth of the Mississippi River to one of the numerous points of entry for barges located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Accidents on barges happen for a wide variety of reasons. Inferior engines cause malfunctions that include sudden movements that injure seamen aboard a shipping vessel, as well as fires prompted by the overheating of the engines. Inexperienced crew members also contribute to accidents on barges by not performing required maintenance in a timely manner.

In the open waters that run along the Atlantic Ocean coast, barges are vulnerable to tropical storms that form between June 1 and November 30 each year. These powerful storms also contribute to barge accidents.

Cruise Ships Gone Wrong

The recent publicity generated by cruise ship mishaps has taken a toll on the maritime tourism industry. Cruise ships can capsize or develop serious operational issues because of the onset of severe weather. Foul weather that disrupts the navigation system can cause commercial passenger ships to hit stationary objects, such as icebergs and small parcels of land at sea.

Worker negligence can spark accidents that include fires. Statistical data released by OSHA states cruise ship worker negligence is the reason for almost 75% of the fires that start on board the large passenger vessels. Injuries suffered by cruise ship passengers that occur on land typically fall under tort law, while injuries suffered by passengers on board a cruise ship at sea are litigated under the statutes of the country where the vessel experienced the maritime accident.

Cargo Tankers

Explosions cause the most accidents on board cargo ships, mostly because the commercial ships haul flammable objects for thousands of miles. Even minor explosions can trigger chain reaction events that lead to catastrophic results.

Diving Support Maritime Vessels

The number of adventurers who want to explore the mysteries locked within the open seas and vast oceans has increased dramatically over the past 10 years. Popular shows presented on stations such as Discovery have unleashed a wave of thrill seekers, with most of the thrill seekers possessing little, if any deep sea diving experience. The rise in deep sea explorers has contributed to an increase in the number of diving support vessel accidents. Inexperienced divers and worker negligence lead the list of reason why diving support maritime vessels have become dangerous places to explore the open seas.

When Negligence Rears Its Ugly Head

As with most personal injury cases, worker error and/or employer negligence is the leading cause of maritime accidents. Many cases of barge and ship accidents are caused by workers abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. Regardless of what caused a maritime accident aboard a barge or ship, you have a right to consult with a licensed attorney who focuses on maritime law.

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