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April 9th, 2012

Investigation Into Maritime Worker’s Wrongful Death Finds Maintenance Flaws

Investigations into the death of a chief engineer on an Australian cruise vessel during a routine drill, have focused on a lot of flaws in the systems  in place on the vessel, the Oceanic Discoverer. According to investigations, the crew member died after he suffered crushing injuries when he was trapped in a watertight door.

In March 2009, the engineer had been participating in a fire and emergency drill on the vessel. The master of the vessel remotely closed the door from the bridge. Just a few minutes later, the chief engineer opened the door to walk through. He became trapped in the water tight door.

According to investigations, the report had been set to almost twice the allowed speed, and this possibly contributed to the tragedy. Additionally, the investigation also found that the door was not maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications and instructions. The door also did not meet the performance standards set by the International Maritime Organization.

According to an investigation by the Australian Transport Accident Investigation Commission, it is also likely that the alarm which was required to go off at when the door was closing, was malfunctioning at the time. There were also design problems in the door, which would cause it to self close automatically in local control mode.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has already made recommendations to the director of Maritime New Zealand and the chief executive of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The agency recommends that these authorities specifically look into the issue of watertight door safety on ships.

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  represent crewmembers and seamen who have been injured in maritime accidents across the globe.

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