Crew Member Goes Overboard from Tugboat in Orange County, Texas

by | Feb 3, 2024 | Maritime Law, Wrongful Death

There was a deadly boating accident in Orange County, Texas on February 2, 2024.  In the early morning, a crew member from a tugboat went overboard in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.  The body of the crew member was recovered near Veteran’s Memorial Bridge.  Reports from the tugboat company involved allege that the worker may have jumped overboard.  Additional details have not yet been released.

The risk of crew members going overboard from a tugboat represents one of the most perilous situations in maritime operations. Tugboats, essential for their role in guiding larger vessels through narrow or crowded harbors, operate in environments that are often congested and can be tumultuous. The nature of their work requires crew members to be on deck, making them vulnerable to falling overboard due to sudden movements, slips, or missteps, particularly in adverse weather conditions or when navigating through rough waters. The immediate danger of such incidents is drowning, compounded by the risk of hypothermia in cold waters, and the potential difficulty in quickly locating and rescuing the overboard individual due to the tugboat’s operational requirements and the possible presence of other nearby vessels.

Furthermore, the consequences of a crew member going overboard extend beyond the immediate physical dangers. There are significant psychological impacts on the individual and their fellow crew members, including trauma and stress, which can affect their performance and overall well-being. The incident can also lead to operational disruptions, investigations, and legal repercussions for the maritime company involved, especially if it is found that adequate safety measures and training were not in place or followed. Maritime law firms specializing in personal injury cases play a crucial role in these situations, advocating for the rights of injured crew members or the families of those lost to such tragic incidents. They ensure that proper compensation is sought for any negligence and that measures are implemented to prevent future occurrences, thereby enhancing the safety and security of maritime professionals.

There have been a number of recent incidents involving vessels.  There was a deadly fire on the container ship STRIDE in the Port of Houston on the morning of January 8, 2024.  The vessel’s second engineer was killed in an explosion in the engine room on the product tanker TORC on January 8, 2024.  The bulk carrier GIBRALTAR EAGLE was hit by a missile while in the Gulf of Aden on January 15, 2024.  The bulk carrier GENCO PICARDY was hit by a drone on January 17, 2024.  The fishing boat ALASKA ROSE capsized northeast of Chiniak Island, Alaska on January 21, 2024.  Two boats collided on Lake Murray in South Carolina on January 25, 2024.

It can be dangerous to work in any industry when safety considerations are not taken seriously.  Safe offshore vessel owners and operators must ensure that their ships do not put the lives of hard working men and women at risk.  Safe companies must be proactive and take preventative measures, including regular maintenance and repairs, to also ensure that the environment is not impacted.

Even when a company has practices and procedures in place to prevent incidents like this, mishaps such as the one described above are cannot be completely eliminated.  All too often, human error and negligence are the reasons for these vessel collisions.  Whether it is due to poor judgment, a normalization of deviance from the proper procedures or a lack of proper rest and recovery, humans err and sometimes these errors result in the property damage, injury or death.  Operating modern sea vessels is not an inherently unsafe act as long as those responsible do so in such a manner that is not negligent. When the operation of sea vessels is conducted in a negligent manner, it does not take long for the situation to become dangerous.

Our experienced lawyers handle maritime personal injury and wrongful death litigation of all kinds and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously injured as a result of a maritime accident. The lawyers of Spagnoletti Law Firm have handled maritime lawsuits throughout the country.

The experienced and aggressive vessel accident attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident on a ship. There are strict and short time limits on making claims related to maritime injuries, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your rights.