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November 18th, 2009

Barge Crewmember Killed in Fall Overboard in Chesapeake Bay

The body of a Maryland barge crewmember, who fell in the water from the back of a barge as he was returning from a work site, has been found in the South River.

The Coast Guard last seek began rescue operations to look for the crewmember, Gregory Luckett.  The Coast Guard searched over 60 square nautical miles, with crews working through the night. The search was called off the next day, and on Monday, Luckett’s body was found.

With winter in full swing, chilly waters offer little hope to a seaman who falls in. Depending on how cold the water is, hypothermia can quickly set in, making it impossible for the person to keep himself afloat. The person may experience numbness in the extremities, a drop in breathing rate, disorientation and confusion. In freezing waters, a seaman may not have the luxury of being able to wait for rescue.

Investigations into this barge accident are going on. We don’t know yet if the other crewmembers on the barge witnessed the accident. However, as maritime lawyers, we would be very interested to know how long the worker had been employed in his job, and if he had been sufficiently trained to perform his duties safely, especially considering the recent change in seasons, and the dangers arising from this.

 

A Maritime Lawyer Can Help a Jones Act Seaman Understand his Rights

Determining the question of Jones Act seaman status for a barge operator can become complex. Barges are typically towed by tugboats, and these tugboat drivers may be either employed by the tugboat company and assigned to the vessel, or contracted simply for the purpose of towing barges to and from the worksite.

A contractor, who has not been assigned to a vessel, may not meet the definition of a Jones Act seaman. For a maritime attorney to prove seaman status, the seaman must be assigned to a vessel or a fleet of vessels in navigation, and must contribute to the mission of the vessel.

Maritime attorneys often find that workers are barely ware of their own Jones Act seaman status.  That’s why it’s important for any maritime worker to consult with a Jones Act lawyer to ascertain if he has rights under the Jones Act, before he agrees to a settlement from his employer. Contact us for more information on your case at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers

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