Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mayport shrimp boat Miss Alberta capsizes; 1 dead

Mayport Coast Guard crews were off the coast of Amelia Island today, trying to determine if any pollution was caused by the Monday capsizing of a shrimp boat that killed a crew member.As of Tuesday morning, the Coaast Guard still had not identified the crewman, said Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Evanson of the Mayport Coast Guard station. The sunken vessel, the 36-foot Miss Alberta, is posing no hazard to navigation for other ships and boats, Evanson said. The shrimp boat’s owner is responsible for removing the underwater wreckage, he said. Shrimper Tony Malone, first mate aboard another shrimp boat, the Joe Bip, said his boat got a distress call about 3 p.m. Monday from the Miss Alberta, which was shrimping nearby, about a half mile from shore. Waves were about 5 feet offshore and winds were coming from the south at 17.5 mph and gusting at 21 mph, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather buoy off the coast of St. Augustine. Malone dove into the water to save the two-member crew. “The boat was already upside down,” he said. He said he found the captain, who he and witnesses identified as Bo King of Mayport, swimming with his dead crew member tethered to him with a rope.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Iraq war vet killed in boating accident

DELAND, Fla. (AP) — Authorities have found the body of an Iraq war veteran who was thrown from a boat during a collision on a central Florida river.The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says divers from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office found the body of 36-year-old Jamie Orsten on Saturday. Orsten was thrown into the water after the boat he was riding in crashed with another vessel on the St. Johns River Friday evening. Officials say he was not wearing a life jacket. Commission spokeswoman Joy Hill said Orsten was an Army veteran of the Iraq war. Charges are pending the outcome of an investigation. ___ Information from: Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Florida seaman files Jones Act lawsuit against Houston company

9/27/2010 1:36 PM By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau A Florida seaman has filed a lawsuit against barge company claiming he was permanently injured. Robert Occhiogrosso filed suit against Maryland Marine Inc., doing business as Higman Barge Lines Inc., on Sept. 16 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division. According to the lawsuit, the accident occurred on June 27, 2009, as Occhiogrosso was working as a member of the crew of the Tugboat Annopolis in Houston. He states the vessel's unsafe and unseaworthy conditions caused him to suffer permanent personal injuries to his body. Further, he states the accident was caused by the negligence of the defendant or the defendant's employees. The plaintiff is seeking more than $75,000 in damages for physical pain, mental anguish, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, medical expenses, loss of life's pleasures, loss of physical capacity, disfigurement, loss of ability to perform household services, interest and court costs. Occhiogrosso is represented by Harold Eisenman in Houston. Case No. 1:10-cv-00576

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Jones Act Repeal Would Hurt Jacksonville Shipping Companies

Sen. John McCain’s proposed repeal of an 80-year-old maritime law could, if passed, shake up Jacksonville’s most entrenched trade lane and endanger three hometown shipping companies dependent on it. McCain, R-Ariz., argues that requiring all goods shipped between the nation’s ports to be transported by U.S.-built ships and sailed by American crews is protectionist and raises prices by excluding foreign competition. Supporters of the Jones Act counter that the law preserves security and the domestic maritime industries. The repeal of the law “would be devastating,” said Fred Schloth, Sea Star Line LLC’s assistant vice president of marketing. “When you look at [shipping] rates to Puerto Rico, they’re already competitive and can’t come down more.” Read more: Jones Act repeal would hurt local shipping firms - Jacksonville Business Journal

Recent Florida Boating Accidents

News on two recent boating deaths:

It is the second boating fatality in four days in the Fort Pierce area. On Saturday, commercial fisherman Cory Brangan, 26, of Fort Pierce, was found dead alone in a 20-foot-long fishing boat that ran aground before dawn on a spoil island in the Indian River Lagoon north of the North Bridge in Fort Pierce. “It is certainly tragic,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro said Tuesday about the deaths. “In both cases, the men had a lot of experience on the water. Brangan was a commercial fisherman and McPhall had 25 years on the water.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Seaman hit by ship 'tugger' sues two captains and a company

Claiming the "tugger" winch he was operating broke free from the vessel's deck and struck him, seaman Jesse Turner filed a Jones Act suit against the ship's owner and two captains. Turner, along with his wife Sonja, filed their suit against Cal Dive International and Captains Allen Brough and Glen Delahoussey on Aug. 16 in Jefferson County District Court. Court papers show Turner was a tension machine operator working aboard the vessel Rider owned by Cal Dive and captained by Brough and Delahoussey. On Aug. 20, 2008, Turner operated the ship's "tugger" winch laying pipeline between Alabama and Mississippi when it "broke free from the deck and slammed into him, causing in injuries," court papers say. "Unbeknownst to plaintiff, the tugger winch used to lay pipeline was improperly fixed to the deck," the suit states. "Cal Dive transported plaintiff ... past several facilities in order to take him to what they termed 'our hospital' in New Orleans." Turner claims the defendants negligently installed the winch and that the vessel was unseaworthy. He claims that two years after the incident he is still unable to return to work and is suing for past and future lost earnings and medical expenses. Huntsville attorney Hans Barcus of the Cantrell, Ray & Barcus law firm is representing him. Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Changes to maritime laws motivated by politics, lawyer says

Since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April, some groups, including trial lawyers, see the incident as an opportunity to make changes to the federal statutes that cover injuries and deaths in the maritime industry. However many business interests see the changes as unnecessary and fear the proposals would open the flood gates to needless litigation that will cripple the maritime industry and destroy jobs. Mark Freeman, a maritime defense attorney with Baldo Stevens Freeman & Lighty in Beaumont, thinks the push for change is not necessarily motivated by a desire to help families. "It is a political reaction to the BP issue," Freeman said in a telephone interview. "An environmental event is being used to change not only the Jones Act, but other marine statutes and ship owners' liability as well." By a voice vote in early July, the House of Representatives approved the Securing Protections for the Injured from Limitations on Liability Act. The SPILL Act amended the decades-old Death on the High Seas Act, the Jones Act and the Limitation of Liability Act. The changes would allow families of the deceased oil workers to recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of care, comfort and companionship. The change would also apply to passengers of ships on the high seas, including cruise lines.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Critics call Valdez cleanup a warning for Gulf workers - Workers getting sick - Flu like symptoms and illness

Anchorage, Alaska (CNN) -- Two decades ago, Roy Dalthorp helped clean up the rocky shores of Prince William Sound after the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground, producing what was then the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Today, with that record surpassed by the 11-week-old disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Dalthorp struggles to breathe. He coughs, and his failing eyes sometimes tear up uncontrollably. Dalthorp told CNN that he was "slowly poisoned" during the Alaska cleanup effort -- and he says some of those now working to clean up the BP spill off Louisiana and neighboring states are risking the same fate.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

7 year old driving boat kills his mother in accident

The Virginia Marine Police will ask the Hampton commonwealth's attorney to determine whether any charges should be filed in a boating accident that killed a 35-year-old woman Sunday. The motorboat was being driven by the woman's 7-year-old son when it struck a pier and threw her into the windshield and then off the back of the boat. Elizabeth J. Elliott of Hampton was taken to Riverside Regional Medical Center, where she died. The five passengers on board were headed home on the Hampton River about 6:15 p.m. when an adult briefly let the 7-year-old steer, said John Bull, a marine police spokesman.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Coast Guard probes death of two found on boat

PONCE INLET -- The Coast Guard, along with Volusia County Beach Patrol, are investigating the death of a man and woman found dead on a boat Sunday morning. Coast Guard officials told FLORIDA TODAY Local 6 someone found the couple in medical distress on a Cuddy Cabin-style boat that was anchored near Disappearing Island in the Intracoastal waterway at Ponce Inlet. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission identified the couple as Howard and Sandra Lynn Lupton, of Palatka. Officials told Local 6 the Luptons likely died from carbon monoxide poisoning on the boat. The Luptons were sleeping on the boat when they were poisoned, police said. Disappearing Island is a popular recreation spot that forms from sandbars when the tide goes out. Over Memorial Day weekend, Madison Holly, her unborn child, and her father, were killed in the same area in a boating accident. n

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Congressmen ask Obama to Waive Jones Act in BP Oil Spill

The Associated Press PENSACOLA, Fla. -- U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller want President Barack Obama to waive a law they say is keeping foreign oil skimmers out of the Gulf of Mexico. The Florida Republicans sent a letter to Obama on Monday and plan to discuss the issue with him Tuesday during the president's visit to Pensacola to assess the BP oil spill in the gulf. The federal maritime administrator in emergencies can waive the Jones Act that bars foreign ships from carrying cargo and passengers between U.S. ports. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, who also was in Pensacola on Monday, said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has assured him skimmers from the Netherlands and other European counties are on their way. Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/06/14/1680503/fla-republicans-ask-obama-to-waive.html#ixzz0qvvQATz1

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Florida’s Attorney General requests Obama to waive Jones act to hasten oil spill efforts

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA (BNO NEWS) – Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum on Friday sent a letter to President Barack Obama, asking for a limited waiver on the Jones Act to hasten the oil spill response and the cleanup efforts. The Jones Act is impeding that the most advanced skimmers and other vessels in the world cannot be used in the oils spill recovery efforts as the law indicated that the transportation of merchandise between U.S. points is reserved for American built, owned, and documented vessels.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Transocean Can’t Cap Spill Liability Using Old Law, Lawyers Say

The below article is interesting. Transocean the owner of the rig is attempting to limit its liability to the value of the Deepwater Horizon after it sank to the bottom of the Gulf. The lawyers for the claimants are arguing that all the Transocean rigs are working as a "floatilla" and thus Transocean would have to post a bond for the value of 138 rigs or 23 Billion dollars. That could get very expensive for Transocean.

May 26 (Bloomberg) -- Transocean Ltd. can’t use a 150-year- old statute to cap its liability against claims arising from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, lawyers for victims of the disaster said at a hearing in federal court in Houston. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, passed after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, supersedes the older law in this situation, attorneys for the Louisiana Environmental Action Network and the United Commercial Fisherman’s Association said in court papers, citing earlier decisions. Even under the old law, the negligence of BP and Transocean would make it inapplicable, plaintiffs’ lawyer Kurt Arnold told U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Oil Spill Rate / Counter

This is a PBS counter that gives you the range of oil that is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. If you move the counter you can adjust the spill rate based upon what BP and the Government say or what the worse case senario is. In any case it is VERY BAD.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gulf oil spill could reach Florida Keys by Sunday

By Associated Press / May 18, 2010 Tampa, Florida University scientists are forecasting that oil from the spill off Louisiana could reach Florida's Key West by Sunday. University of South Florida researchers said Tuesday the southern arm of the massive spill has entered or is near the so-called loop current, which circulates in the Gulf and takes water south to the Florida Keys and the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream could eventually take the oil up Florida's Atlantic coast. Twenty tar balls were found by the Coast Guard off Key West on Monday. They are being tested by the Coast Guard to see if they came from the Louisiana spill or elsewhere. Tar balls can occur naturally or come from other sources such as ships. USF scientists use currents, wind forecasts and other elements to make their predictions.

Jacksonville brothers, friend clung to cooler for three days in ocean before rescue

Two Jacksonville brothers and a friend who are the lucky survivors of spending three days at sea clinging to a cooler after their boat flipped during a fishing trip off Mayport Sunday expect to be in the arms of their families later tonight, the U.S. Coast Guard said this afternoon. "Anytime you have a search and rescue case like this, luck is going to play a factor if they're going to come home," said Michael Hulme, a Coast Guard spokesman said. "We're extremely excited the three individuals will be able to go home tonight with their families."

Monday, May 17, 2010

3 Boaters Missing Off Mayport - Jacksonville Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for three boaters who left Mayport Sunday morning and did not return by the end of the day. Authorities said John J. Navaraz, 32, Elijs Navaraz, 31, and Rebecca Sullivan, 28, did not return as scheduled on Sunday night. The truck that the group used to launch their 20-foot pleasure craft named Problem Child remained at the boat ramp in Mayport.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Deepwater Horizon owner Transocean seeks liability limit

Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded and sank last month killing 11 and creating a growing oil spill, today got a Houston judge to stay pending cases against the company. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison today issued an order suspending cases against Transocean because the company filed a request to limit its liability in the lawsuits filed against it to $26.7 million. Lawyers involved in the myriad of lawsuits filed against Transocean, rig leaser BP and others said they expected Transocean would take advantage of the Limitation of Liability Act, a maritime law that allows a vessel owner to limit liability to the value of the vessel and its freight. The law dates back to the mid 1800s when it was passed to protect U.S. vessel owners, eliminating some risk in crisis situations and aiding competition with foreign ships. Guy Cantwell, a spokesman for Transocean, said the company filed this request on instruction from its insurers and to preserve its insurance.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Onalaska men injured in Florida boating accident

Two Onalaska men and one other person are seriously injured in a weekend boating accident in Florida. 35-year-old Jason Baldner of Onalaska and 36-year-old Jason Williams, an Onalaska native currently living in Cape Coral, Florida, were aboard a 37-foot boat when it slammed into a seawall at a high rate of speed, went airborne and landed in a vacant lot. Baldner, Williams and another man, 31-year-old Eric Terpsma of Cape Coral, were taken to the hospital. Baldner's dad says his son is in a coma. A Florida hospital says Williams and the third man are both in serious condition. Television station WINK in Fort Myers says authorities suspect alcohol to be a factor in the accident, but the accident is still being investigated. Friends say Baldner and Williams are avid boaters. Both men were also past members of the River City Water Ski Team.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Dozens hurt in NYC ferry crash

NEW YORK - A Staten Island ferry boat with a history of accidents struck a pier as it approached a terminal Saturday, seriously hurting at least one person and leaving as many as 35 with minor injuries. The Andrew J. Barberi hit the pier at around 9:20 a.m. as it approached the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. The city's transportation commissioner said the ferry's throttle failed to engage as it came in for a landing. That meant the crew was unable to use the engines to slow the vessel.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Gulf Oil Rig Explosion, Fire

HOUSTON, May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys with the Houston trial law firm Arnold & Itkin LLP today filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family of Aaron Dale Burkeen, one of 11 men still missing after the recent oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. A resident of Philadelphia, Miss., Mr. Burkeen worked as a crane operator on the Deepwater Horizon, a massive oil rig owned by Swiss-based Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) and operated by UK-based BP PLC (NYSE: BP). On April 20, Mr. Burkeen was operating the crane on deck before the first explosion rocked the rig. His responsibilities included getting other crew members to safety. He is believed to have been tragically killed in the second blast. The family of Mr. Burkeen, including his wife and two children, are represented by Houston maritime attorneys Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin of Arnold & Itkin, along with Mississippi attorney Jay M. Kilpatrick, a shareholder in Young Williams P.A. According to the attorneys, the Deepwater Horizon was unseaworthy, and the defendants were negligent in failing to properly maintain the rig and failing to meet federal safety standards.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Owner of sunken oil rig defends Transocean's safety record

The chief executive of Transocean Ltd., whose drilling rig exploded last month in the Gulf of Mexico and triggered the largest oil spill in North American history, on Thursday defended the company's safety policies. Steven Newman, Transocean's president and chief executive, told industry analysts during a conference call on the company's quarterly earnings that it would be "premature'' and "inappropriate'' to speculate on what caused the April 20 blast that sank the $600 million rig and left 11 crew members missing and presumed dead. Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/05/06/1616780/owner-of-sunken-oil-rig-defends.html#ixzz0nBOQGarf

Panel probing oil rig explosion to start work

ROBERT, La. — A board investigating a deadly oil rig explosion that caused a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will begin its work next week. The six-member panel is split between representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service. MMS spokesman John Callahan said a more detailed schedule will be released Friday. The board is tasked with investigating the cause of an April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers at an oil rig operated by BP PLC. BP is still trying to stop the leak spewing more than 200,000 gallons of oil a day. Authorities earlier said the investigative board will hear testimony from survivors of the explosion and technical experts. Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 03, 2010

'Daunting' oil spill threatens Florida - Florida Oil Spill Damage Lawyers

With an oil slick and tar balls just 50 miles offshore, Florida's top environmental official and other politicians say the state is bracing for pollution and damage to hit the state's beaches and its oyster, bait and sport fisheries. "It is an enormous mess. It is unbelievable -- the magnitude of this thing. Clearly every effort needs to be put on plugging the hole up and stopping the bleeding,'' Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said. Crist on Monday extended a state of emergency from the western Panhandle around the Big Bend as far south as Sarasota. The coastal counties added Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota due to the Deepwater Horizon Incident. Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/05/03/1610698/daunting-oil-spill-threatens-florida.html#ixzz0mtWHXRKs

Lawyers flock to Gulf Coast for oil spill lawsuits

MIAMI — Teams of lawyers from around the nation are mobilizing for a gargantuan legal battle over the massive Gulf Coast oil spill, filing multiple lawsuits in recent days that together could dwarf the half-billion dollars awarded in the Exxon Valdez disaster two decades ago. If the oil slick fouls popular beaches, ruins fisheries and disrupts traffic on the Mississippi River, attorneys say there could be hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs from Texas to Florida seeking monetary damages from oil producer BP PLC and other companies that ran the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. At least 26 federal lawsuits have been filed since the spill by commercial fishermen, charter boat captains, resort management companies and individual property owners in Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. Many of the suits claim the disaster was caused when workers for oil services contractor Halliburton Inc. improperly capped a well — a process known as cementing. Halliburton denied that. Investigators are still looking into the cause.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Woman injured after boat accident at Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A woman was injured in a boating accident at Walt Disney World after her boat went under a Disney ferry. According to an Orange County Sheriff's report, 61-year-old Barbara Wormald was treated for a collapsed lung, fractured ribs and back pain after becoming wedged between the vessels. The report says Wormald and her husband rented a two seater boat Thursday near the Treehouse Villas. Ferry boat captain William Green said he saw the boat driving recklessly and put the ferry in reverse upon impact. Michael Wormald said he saw the ferry in the distance and thought it would move. As it approached, he turned quickly to avoid a crash, but the ferry ran onto the boat's passenger side and over his wife. Charges are pending against Wormald. Disney declined comment. Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/28/1602106/woman-injured-after-boat-accident.html#ixzz0mhPf5rV6

Friday, April 23, 2010

Coast Guard Continues Searching for Missing Workers in Oil Rig/Platform Explosion

At least four Mississippi men were among 11 workers missing after an oil rig explosion off the Louisiana coast. The Coast Guard continued its search by sea and air Thursday as anxious families huddled around telephones awaiting hourly updates from authorities. "We're all just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring and hoping for good news. And praying about it," said 23-year-old Andrea Cochran, whose father, Dewey Revette, was among the missing. Revette, a 48-year-old from Wayne County in southeast Mississippi, worked as a driller on the rig and has been with rig owner Transocean Ltd. for 29 years. Several people from Wayne County, near the Alabama line, were on the rig. Like much of Mississippi, Wayne County is a rural area with few high-paying jobs, so many of the men there head for the oil fields to support their families.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Potential for big spill after oil rig sinks

PORT FOURCHON, La. - The oil rig that exploded, caught fire and then sank 36 hours later could lead to a major oil spill, officials said Thursday, and as a result a remotely operated vehicle is surveying the seas and assets ranging from aircraft to containment booms are ready to be deployed. At a press conference, the officials also said hope was running out for 11 workers still missing after the blast Tuesday night off the coast of Louisiana. The Coast Guard said its search would probably continue for another 12 hours or so.

Cruise ship turns suddenly; 60 hurt

GALVESTON, Texas - A cruise ship operator says dozens of people were hurt when one of its vessels listed during a maneuver to avoid a partially submerged buoy that was adrift near Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Carnival Cruise Lines says the ship, Carnival Ecstasy, had to make a sharp turn to avoid the buoy Wednesday afternoon. Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer De La Cruz says 60 guests and one crew member suffered minor injuries and that some unsecured objects aboard the ship were damaged. She says no one required treatment at a hospital.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Workers Missing After Oil-Rig Explosion - 11 remain missing

Twelve people were missing and seven critically injured after an explosion and fire at an oil-drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. A Coast Guard rescue helicopter and crew document the fire aboard the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, while searching for survivors. .The rig, about 41 miles off the Louisiana coast, is owned and operated by Transocean Ltd. and contracted to British oil major BP PLC. A spokesman for Transocean said most of the 126 people on board were safe. A Coast Guard spokeswoman said 12 were still missing but said reports indicated that all 126 people got off the rig. The rig was still burning and listing. Four Coast Guard helicopters and an airplane are being used in rescue operations and five Coast Guard cutters are also responding, the Coast Guard said. "We are still in a search and rescue operation," Transocean spokesman Greg Panagos said. Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, has said that the missing people were in a lifeboat that drifted away from the rig while rescue workers were helping others. __________________________________ 11 remain missing on Thrusday::: One lawsuit filed

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A lawsuit is claiming the companies involved in an oil platform explosion off the Louisiana coast were negligent. The lawsuit was filed in New Orleans on Thursday on behalf of a Mississippi man who worked on the rig and is one of 11 people still missing after the blast. The lawsuit says Shane Roshto, of Amite (Ah-mit) County, Miss., was thrown overboard in the Tuesday night explosion and is feared dead. The rig is owned by Transocean Ltd. and was under contract to oil giant BP. Both are defendants in the lawsuit. A Transocean spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment and BP wouldn't discuss the suit.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Miami Beach Man Cleared in Deadly Columbus Day Boating Accident

A Miami Beach boater has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the October 2006 Columbus Day Regatta party crash in Biscayne Bay that killed two college students. After an exhaustive investigation, prosecutors on Monday dropped a misdemeanor charge of violating navigational rules against Roland Desrochers, who skippered one of four boats involved in the fatal wreck. Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/03/30/1554312/miami-beach-man-cleared-in-deadly.html#ixzz0lZTaDqEr

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Judge: Ethan Allen victims can sue NY

A state Court of Claims judge has rejected the state's immunity defense in the Ethan Allen capsizing, setting the stage for a trial later this year over whether state marine inspectors had any responsibility for the tour boat tragedy. No trial date has been set in the state case. Lawyers for the victims have argued that state inspectors did not do their job when inspecting the tour boat, which sank in Lake George on Oct. 2, 2005, leading to the drowning deaths of 20 passengers.

Friday, April 16, 2010

15-year-old weeps through his sentencing for fatal Spring Lake boating accident

The emotions poured out from four families affected by the Sept. 5 crash between a ski boat and personal watercraft as Ottawa County Family Court Judge Mark Feyen sentenced 15-year-old Jack McKeough to probation, community service and restitution. McKeough, driver of the 27-foot ski boat powered by twin 350-horsepower inboard engines, also must not operate a watercraft during his probation. The crash injured two passengers on the personal watercraft: Alexis Youngberg lost her left leg. Now 17, she uses a prosthetic; 23-year-old Kaitlin VanDam also had a severe injury that left a leg deformed. Feyen described the crash as an "unspeakable tragedy" before he sentenced McKeough to six months of probation, 75 hours of community service and nearly $10,000 in restitution for medical expenses.

Sometimes I read about boating accidents and think: This is the worst ever. This may not be the worst ever but it was plenty bad. What are the lessons that can be learned from this accident? I think some are obvious. What a tragic circumstance. Dwayne

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Woman killed in boating accident on Santa Fe River/ Susie Cruce Brown

PERRY, Fla. -- A woman was killed in a boating accident on the Santa Fe River Sunday. She was killed near the Ellie Ray boat ramp. According to investigators with Florida Fish and Wildlife, Susie Cruce Brown, 49, was headed downstream on the Santa Fe. She was riding a 1996 Yamaha Waverider. She was with a group of three others also riding PWCs. They had launched from Sandy Point Marina. One of the other PWCs collided with Brown when she came to a sudden stop. Brown was thrown into the water. Her friends pulled her from the water and took her to a nearby dock in Branford. Other boaters attempted CPR. Brown was transported to Shands Lake Shore Hospital in Lake City, where she was pronounced dead. The FWC is investigating.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

7-Year-Old Girl Killed In ATV Accident - Putnam County

This is not a maritime case but is local and involves safety on vehicles. Tragic loss of a little girl. Dwayne

INTERLACHEN, Fla. - The Florida Highway Patrol said a 7-year-old Interlachen girl riding on an all-terrain vehicle Sunday evening was killed when the driver braked to avoid hitting two dogs and the vehicle overturned.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Jurors find boat manufacturer partly liable

A federal jury Monday found a boat manufacturer partially liable for a 2005 incident on Lake Austin in which a teen's leg was severed by a propeller. Jurors ordered the company to pay $3.8 million in medical expenses and damages. After deliberating for about seven hours, jurors found that the Brunswick Corp. shared more than half of the blame for the accident that severely injured Jacob Brochtrup, who was then 18. Brunswick officials said in a statement after the verdict that they "stand behind our products, which are used safely and properly by boaters around the world." Jurors found that Brochtrup also was responsible, as was the driver of the boat.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

As Drilling Increases, Maritime Accidents Will Inevitably Rise

April 01, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- As Drilling Increases, Maritime Accidents Will Inevitably Rise. Increased crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has sparked hope that the recession will soon end. As the nation returns to economic health, shipping lanes, ports and the gulf oil and gas production and drilling industry will get busier with goods moving in and out. That is good news for the area and the rest of the country. The bad news, however, is that worker injuries on the often-dangerous oil rigs, drill ships, supply and crew boats, and inland vessels such as tugboats and towboats, typically rise as production increases.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Blizzard guilty of negligent homicide, jury deadlocks on other charges

LACONIA – A Belknap County jury found a Laconia marina operator guilty of negligent homicide when she drove her 37-foot Formula boat into Diamond Island on Lake Winnipesaukee in 2008, killing her best friend.

Girl nearly loses arm in boating accident / good recovery with help of doctors

Newswise — Kristen Kilpatrick could see the whirling propeller approaching after her fishing boat lurched forward, plunging her into the cold lake. “The motor creates this weird funneling and it just sucks you in. I just curled up into a little ball,” the Texas Christian University sophomore recalled. On a May 2009 weekend whim, she and friends had gone to the lake on her family’s ranch near Hico, located southwest of Stephenville. The engine was brutally unforgiving.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Driver of boat gives his account

Todd Spangler said he didn't whip an inner tube carrying two women into a dock at West Shores Lake. Spangler said the women — his wife, Kim, and their close friend, Jennifer Finke-Dwyer — “skipped across the water like a rock” and didn't hit the dock until 3 to 6 seconds after they had fallen off of the tube he pulled behind his boat.

Trial called in Lake George tour boat tragedy

Albany, New York - March 9, 2010 A federal judge has called a trial to determine whether another boat's wake contributed to a deadly tour boat accident on Lake George. In 2005 the Ethan Allen capsized, killing 20 elderly passengers from the Midwest. The Lake George Steamboat Company filed a request asking a judge to dismiss liability claims that its tour boat's wake contributed to the accident. On Monday the judge refused, setting a trial for June 10. Claims against the boat owner, operator and tour organizer have been settled. WCAX News

Crime or tragic accident? --Trial opens in boating fatality

The driver of a boat on trial for negligent homicide in the Father's Day 2008 death of a 34-year-old Meredith woman had a blood-alcohol level one-and-a-half times the legal limit of .08 when the power boat she was piloting hit Diamond Island, according to the state. Prosecutor Jim Carroll told jurors during opening arguments Monday in the trial of Erica Blizzard, 37, of 36 Gold Street, Lakeport, that the defendant was "impaired" when she crashed the 37-foot 2008 Formula 370 SS she was piloting into the 27-acre island located in The Broads — the widest section of the lake.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Body of Tugboat Crewmember in Houston Ship Channel Accident Recovered

The body of the tugboat worker who had been missing since the vessel sank this week, has been found. The vessel, JR Nichols sank on Wednesday night. There were five workers on board and four were rescued from the water. The fifth crewmember had been missing for a few hours. The next morning, his body was recovered by salvage workers. The Coast Guard says it is continuing its investigation into the sinking of the tugboat. The vessel was operated by Kinder Morgan

Thursday, February 18, 2010

3 families in fatal boat crash suing Coast Guard

Three Rancho Peñasquitos families involved in a Coast Guard boat crash that killed an 8-year-old boy in December sued the federal government yesterday for wrongful death and negligence, with hopes of making the service overhaul how it operates on San Diego Bay. Five days before Christmas, Anthony Cole DeWeese was on his family’s 24-foot Sea Ray with 12 others attending the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights when the pleasure craft was hit by a 33-foot Coast Guard vessel rushing to help a grounded boater.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Boat’s owner convicted in Fremont Canyon crash - Partying Ends Badly on Boat

CASPER — A jury on Thursday found a Casper man guilty of two counts of aggravated assault for his role in a boat accident last spring that left four people seriously injured. Seth Linaman, 31, was also found guilty of boating under the influence. The jury of seven men and five women needed roughly two hours to reach a verdict. Linaman, standing with his attorney, showed no emotion when the announcement was made. Deliberations began at roughly 3:45 p.m., following closing arguments by Assistant District Attorney Daniel Itzen and defense attorney Richard Jameison. Including Linaman, the boat’s owner, there were four people aboard the vessel when it struck a Fremont Canyon wall at Alcova Reservoir on May 16. Everyone aboard suffered severe injuries.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Seaman hit by sledge hammer plans to settle Jones Act suit

A week before his trial was to start, a Mississippi seaman said he intends to settle his personal injury lawsuit against Rowan Companies. As the Southeast Texas Record reported in August 2008, Nicky Hutson filed suit against his employer after being bonked on the head with a sledge hammer by a fellow shipmate. He claimed the company negligently failed to supervise its employees. The trial was slated to begin Feb. 8. However, on Monday, Feb. 1 the parties called the office of presiding Jefferson County Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, and reported that the parties had reached a tentative settlement.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life-threatening injuries after Jacksonville boat accident

Three adults and a child were involved in a boating accident Tuesday night at Pottsburg Creek, Jacksonville police said. The incident occurred at a boat dock in the 500 block of Bayridge Road. A Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said one person was taken to Shands Jacksonville with life-threatening injuries, but couldn’t provide any other details, citing medical privacy laws. This is an update. Apparently the injuries were not life threatening. FWC report.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ship engineer files Jones Act suit in Galveston

GALVESTON - An Alabama seaman is suing his employer for $75,000 for injuries he reportedly sustained on the job. Leslie Vincent Tapia accuses Supreme Offshore Services Inc. of failing to furnish him safe and proper equipment on board the M/V Warren Thomas. "Such a failure to provide proper working equipment proximately caused and resulted in the injuries and damages sustained by the plaintiff," the suit says. Under the Jones Act, the suit was filed Jan. 6 in Galveston County District Court and claims the vessel was not seaworthy. Tapia worked as an engineer on the Warren Thomas.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Coast Guard Medevacs seaman from tug - Andy Syska

Coast Guard medically evacuates man from tug boat JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Coast Guard medically evacuated a 47-year-old man Sunday night from a 92-foot tug boat near the entrance of the St. Johns River near the Mayport, Fla., jetties. A Coast Guard Station Mayport 47-foot Motor-Lifeboat crew evacuated Andy Syska, hometown unknown, from the vessel Peggy Winslow. A crewmember aboard the vessel sent a radio distress call to Coast Guard search and rescue coordinators at Sector Jacksonville around 7 p.m. to report Syska suffered a leg injury and was in severe pain. The Coast Guard crew transported Syska to awaiting EMS at the Mayport boat ramp. Syska was reportedly in fair condition.

Juries and the Jones Act

This is from the Supreme of Washington Blog: Endicott v. Icicle Seafoods, Inc., No. 82635-8. The Jones Act is a federal law that allows an injured seaman to sue his employer for negligence. Here, Justin Endicott's arm was crushed by a fish cart aboard Icicle Seafood's ship "Bering Star." He sued in King County Superior Court under the Jones Act and the doctrine of unseaworthiness. The Superior Court allowed Endicott to opt for a bench trial (no jury) and ruled for him on both claims. Icicle appeals on four grounds; the Court today addresses two: the bench trial and an award of prejudgment interest. The decision is unanimous, and the opinion, written by Justice Stephens, includes a summary of the history of the Jones Act. On the jury trial question, the Ninth Circuit and California have held that the Jones Act grants plaintiffs "a substantive federal right to elect the mode of trial," while the Fifth and Seventh Circuits, Louisiana, and California, have found that while the plaintiff can choose "the jurisdictional basis of trial (in admiralty vs. at law) ... jury trial rights flow from this election as procedural incidents." While the trial court adopted the Ninth Circuit position, the State Supreme Court today sides with the Fifth and Seventh Circuits. The Court holds that while the Jones Act grants Endicott the right to bring his case in state court, once he has made that decision, Washington's constitutional right to a jury trial applies. The prejudgment interest award is upheld, but only because it is permitted in a bench trial. The case is remanded for a new trial. (briefs and argument)