Fishing Boat Crashes into Offshore Platform in Gulf of Mexico

by | Mar 15, 2024 | Maritime Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death

There was a small boat crash in the Gulf of Mexico on March 12, 2024.  According to reports, the fishing boat Linedout crashed into the leg of an offshore rig located off of Grand Isle, Louisiana.  One fisherman was thrown overboard as a result.  A nearby liftboat was able to rescue two of the fisherman who were on the boat.  A Coast Guard helicopter transported them to shore for medical care.  The Coast Guard attempted search operations for the missing boater, but was unable to locate them.  Additional details have not been released.

The importance of situational awareness for small boats navigating near offshore platforms cannot be overstated, as these areas pose unique challenges and hazards. Offshore platforms, used primarily for the extraction of oil or natural gas, are often surrounded by a variety of support vessels, including supply ships and tugboats, which can significantly increase traffic density in these areas. Small boat operators must be vigilant in monitoring their surroundings to avoid collisions with these larger vessels, which may not be able to maneuver quickly to avoid a smaller craft. Additionally, the presence of underwater infrastructure related to these platforms, such as pipelines and anchor chains, requires careful navigation to prevent entanglement or grounding, situations that could lead to severe outcomes for small boats.

The risk posed by offshore platforms extends beyond physical obstructions; the operation of these installations often involves the flaring of gas or the discharge of other materials, which can create hazardous conditions for nearby watercraft. Small boats need to be aware of these activities and maintain a safe distance to avoid exposure to potentially harmful gases or debris. The unique environment around these structures can also affect sea conditions, leading to choppy waters or unexpected currents that challenge even the most experienced sailors. Awareness of these factors and proactive measures to mitigate their impact are essential for ensuring the safety of small boats in the vicinity of offshore platforms.

For small boat operators, education and preparation are key to safely navigating areas with offshore platforms. This includes understanding the layout and operation of these installations, as well as familiarizing themselves with the maritime rules and regulations that govern vessel movements in these areas. Equipping their vessels with appropriate navigation and communication tools can also enhance safety by facilitating real-time awareness of their environment and enabling prompt response to potential hazards. By prioritizing situational awareness and adopting a cautious approach to navigation, small boat operators can significantly reduce the risks associated with operating near offshore platforms, ensuring both their safety and that of their vessels.

There have been a number of recent incidents involving vessels.  A crew member was medically evacuated from the container ship ANTWERPEN EXPRESS on February 6, 2024.  A fire broke out on the tug boat Brian T on February 14, 2024.  A recreational boat struck a dock in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 3, 2024.  The container ship MSC SKY II was hit by a missile while in the Red Sea on March 4, 2024.  The bulk carrier TRUE CONFIDENCE was hit by a missile while in the Red Sea on March 6, 2024.  A 75-foot yacht caught fire off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia on March 8, 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.