Dredging Accidents | Virginia Maritime Lawyer – Richard Serpe

Maritime Injury Lawyer - Richard SerpeShipping channels, waterways, and ocean inlets are integral to the shipping industry, and allow transit to be fairly inexpensive and easy. Without them, transporting countless everyday goods would be much more expensive and difficult, if not impossible. Because of the heavy traffic sailing on these waterways, they must be diligently maintained through dredging.

Dredging is Important to the Maritime Industry

With their large scoop cranes or suction vacuums, dredges remove excess silt from the bottom of the body of water they are maintaining and transport it elsewhere. This deepens the waterway, allowing it to remain navigable. While most dredges do basically the same job, clearing silt, there are many different types of dredges. Suction dredgers use a long vacuum to suck up sediment. Excavating dredges have one large scoop on the end of a crane, and digs sediment out of the water. Bucket dredges have many smaller buckets attached to a conveyor system that continually lifts sediment to the surface. Finally, there are water injection dredges, which work by pumping pressured water into the sediment to disturb the silt build up.

However, Dredging Can Be Dangerous

While dredges are necessary, especially in high traffic shipping areas, they are still dangerous. Dredges transport heavy machinery and many people, almost guaranteeing that an injury will happen at some point. The cranes aboard the dredges also bring high risk. Material that falls from the crane can cause injury, and even be devastating if debris is large enough. Miscommunication between crane operators and workers can also lead to accidents and injuries. As with any activity around water, drowning is a major risk. The US Coast Guard reports that from 2000 to 2012, 50% of fatalities on towing vessels or barges were due to falling overboard. This means that once an individual falls overboard, it is extremely difficult to save them.

Injured Workers

Dredge workers, like many employees involved in the shipping industry, are covered under the Jones Act. The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law that, among other things, gives sailors the right to make claims against ship owners, captains, or members of the crew for negligent or injurious behavior. It allows seaman, or their surviving spouses or dependents, to make claims for lost wages or medical care, damages due to negligence, or unseaworthiness of a vessel.

Jones Act and Maritime Lawyer Richard Serpe

If you or a loved one has been injured aboard a dredge or another vessel, you need a skilled lawyer with extensive knowledge of maritime law. Attorney Richard Serpe is experienced with cases under the Jones Act and the general maritime law. He obtained his Masters Degree in maritime law from Tulane University School of Law, and has also achieved the highest ranking of Proctor from the Maritime Law Association of the United States.. Contact us today to setup a free consultation to discuss your situation 877-544-5323.

Virginia Maritime Attorney - Richard J. Serpe