Four crewmembers on a tug boat that sank off the Jamaica coast had a miraculous escape when the Coast Guard managed to reach and rescue them.

The Coast Guard command center in Miami received an EPIRB alert from the tug. The aircrew had been help on its way to help with relief operations in Haiti, when it was dispatched to locate the four crewmembers of the US-flagged tug Betty, clinging to a life craft. The four crew members were then hoisted onto a helicopter. The fifth crewmember of the tug was missing, and the Coast Guard suspended is search operations for him the next day.

There is no information on how the tug boat accident occurred, but it’s safe to imagine that the four crew members had a terrifying experience. A major disaster at sea, like a sinking of the vessel, is never something that a seaman is completely prepared for. During an emergency, you need to rely on every ounce of training, to survive.  You also rely on the preparedness and experience of the vessel’s captains and masters, who have a responsibility to ensure the survival of their crews.

There is much that can be done to ensure a crew’s chances of surviving a major disaster at sea.

  • Training drills must be conducted at regular intervals.
  • There must be adequate numbers of life saving and firefighting equipment on the vessel.
  • Equipment must be sufficient for each crewmember, and must fit each crewmember.
  • Crewmembers must be trained to use this equipment.
  • Emergency and evacuation processes must be in place, and must be reiterated through training and drills.

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent injured tugboat workers, offshore workers, tanker and freighter crews, oil rig and jack up rig crews and fishing vessel crews, in Texas and nationwide. Please contact us at (713) 364-0723 or email us at [email protected].