Vessel Pilot Killed while Boarding Bulker NEW SIHAM

by | Feb 5, 2024 | Maritime Law, Wrongful Death

There was a deadly accident on the bulker ship NEW SIHAM on February 4, 2024.  According to reports, a pilot was attempting to board the vessel via a pilot’s ladder when he fell into the water.  A crew member on the pilot boat jumped in the water in an attempt to rescue him.  The pilot was rescued, but pronounced dead when he was taken to land.  Additional details have not yet been released.

Vessel pilots, tasked with the crucial role of navigating ships through treacherous waters and into busy ports, face a unique set of risks, particularly during the boarding process. This critical transition, often performed via a pilot ladder from a small pilot boat to the towering side of a moving vessel, is fraught with danger. The act of transferring from one moving object to another amidst potentially rough seas and variable weather conditions introduces the risk of slips, falls, and injuries. These pilots are exposed to the elements, and the instability of the ladder can lead to serious accidents, including falls into the sea or against the side of the ship, resulting in injuries ranging from broken limbs to more severe, life-threatening conditions.

Moreover, vessel pilots also contend with operational hazards once aboard. They must quickly acclimate to the unique characteristics of each vessel, navigating complex control systems and coordinating with the ship’s crew, often under the pressure of tight schedules. The high-stakes environment of congested ports and waterways, combined with the physical and mental demands of the job, can lead to fatigue, which further elevates the risk of accidents. These challenges underscore the importance of rigorous safety protocols and training for pilots and crew alike, aimed at minimizing the risks associated with boarding and operating vessels. For pilots injured in the line of duty, legal recourse through maritime injury law can provide a pathway to compensation and recovery, highlighting the need for specialized legal support in navigating the complexities of maritime law.

There have been a number of recent incidents involving vessels.  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.  A crew member from a tugboat went overboard in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Orange County, Texas on February 2, 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.