Port of Texas City
The Port of Texas City, a deepwater port, is located on the southwestern shore of Galveston Bay. It is the 14th leading U.S. port with 49,674,036 short tons of trade as of 2013. The port was first developed in 1893 on 10,000 acres of land. The Texas City Improvement Company was established and received federal funding to dredge a channel to connect Galveston Bay with the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, a railway was built to connect between Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railway. One of the first products to be shipped through the docks was cotton.
When the channel was further deepened, it allowed for steamships to dock including lines from England, Germany, and France. Today, the port is owned by Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe and is operated by the Texas City Terminal Railway Company. The channel is again being deepened to a total channel depth of 45 feet.
The major import is crude oil while the principal exports are gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, petroleum coke and intermediary chemicals. Mooring, unmooring and shifting is done by two companies, Amato Line Handlers Association and Best Bet Marine Services.
The deadliest industrial accident occurred here in 1947. The disaster began with a fire aboard the SS Grandcamp which was moored. The cargo aboard the ship consisted of about 2,200 metric tons of ammonium nitrate exploded. It is considered one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history. The blast set off additional explosions and fires on other vessels and in oil storage facilities located nearby, leveling about 100 buildings.
In all, 581 people were killed including all but one member from the local fire department. There was a total of 8,485 disaster victims. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) was recently put in place at the time, and the victims filed the first class action lawsuit against the U.S. government.
Loading Dock Safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provide standards for maritime working conditions that must be followed. The employer is responsible for providing a safe working environment for employees. Proper lighting is necessary, and employees must be provided with portable lights for areas where lighting is poor. Slippery conditions on walkways must be addressed as well as other working surfaces.
Tools, machinery and other equipment must be properly maintained and inspected, and employees have to be trained on how to use it safely. Workers should not work alone. When working in dangerous areas workers should use personal protective equipment. Companies are required to identify hazards and provide training on use as well as emergency response. A company may provide first aid or an onsite medical facility unless outside emergency response teams are available to arrive within five minutes of making a report.
In some cases, an employee’s injuries could be due to negligence on the part of the company. If so, the worker could be entitled to damages. Maritime workers are covered by the Jones Act and are therefore able to bring legal action against a negligent employer.
If you were seriously hurt as the result of an accident at the Port of Texas City we are available to help. Contact us today by filling out the online form to learn more about how we can protect your rights.