Fishing Boat ALEUTIAN STORM Grounded near Bodega Bay, California

by | Feb 11, 2024 | Maritime Law

A commercial fishing vessel became grounded near Bodega Bay, California on February 9, 2024.  According to reports, the ALEUTIAN STORM ran aground and required assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard.  There were four crew members on board who attempted to unground the vessel, before swimming to shore.  Additional details have not been released.

Commercial fishing boats can become grounded due to a variety of reasons, often involving navigational errors or environmental conditions. One common cause is misjudgment of water depths or failure to accurately read tide charts, leading boats into shallow waters where they can run aground. Additionally, unexpected changes in weather can play a significant role; for example, sudden storms or fog can reduce visibility, making it challenging for the crew to navigate safely. Mechanical failures, such as issues with the boat’s navigation system or engine, can also leave a vessel stranded, unable to maneuver away from shallow or dangerous areas. Environmental factors, such as shifting sandbanks or underwater obstacles that are not well-documented or have changed position, can catch even the most experienced crew by surprise, leading to grounding incidents.

The grounding of a commercial fishing boat poses significant risks of injury to the crew. When a boat runs aground, the sudden stop or jolt can throw individuals against hard surfaces or equipment, leading to fractures, concussions, or other serious injuries. In the chaotic environment that follows a grounding, there’s also a risk of injuries from slips, trips, and falls, especially if the boat is listing or taking on water. Furthermore, the effort to dislodge or evacuate the boat under stress and possibly adverse weather conditions increases the risk of accidents. Injuries sustained in such situations can be compounded by the remote location of the incident, which can delay rescue operations and medical attention, underscoring the importance of adherence to safety protocols and proper training in emergency response for all crew members.

There have been a number of recent incidents involving vessels.  Two boats collided on Lake Murray in South Carolina on January 25, 2024.  A crew member from a tugboat went overboard in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Orange County, Texas on February 2, 2024.  A pilot was killed while trying to board the bulker ship NEW SIHAM on February 4, 2024.  A sailboat with three people on board capsized off the Coast of Georgia on February 6, 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 877-678-5864 to learn more about your rights.