A 30 year-old Houston, Texas commercial diver, was found unresponsive this past Saturday while working on a vessel in navigation in the Gulf of Mexico.  An autopsy is planned to find out the cause of death.  The incident stemmed from what is believed to be a mechanical malfunction with diving equipment, according to one local Texas fire official.

The diver died after cleaning the hull of a ship with a scrubbing machine offshore from Galveston, Texas.  He dove from an offshore service boat to clean the hull of a ship about 10 miles offshore, out from the jetties in an area where ships normally anchor.

His fellow crew members aboard the King Arthur, a commercial diving vessel, performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him until the service boat docked at Pier 9 in Galveston.  Galveston firefighters took over lifesaving maneuvers once the ship docked, and an ambulance took Smock to the University of Texas Medical Branch, and was pronounced dead at 1:37 p.m., according to the Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The case is under investigation by the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit in Texas City.

The commercial diver was working on the King Arthur, which is a commercial diving vessel.  Since he was working as a member of a vessel’s crew, his survivors may qualify for compensation under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA).  Ascertaining which maritime law will apply to this case requires an in-depth knowledge of offshore injury and death cases.  DOHSA may not be the only potential remedy for the deceased’s family.

When a seaman dies as a result of an employer’s negligence or because a vessel or its equipment are unseaworthy, the worker’s family may file for benefits under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA).  The incident must occur on the high seas, more than three nautical miles from shore.  This along with other issues related to commercial diving and dive boat injuries should be discussed as soon as possible with an experienced maritime law firm.

If you have lost a loved one, contact our experienced  Texas DOHSA Attorneys at the maritime law firm of Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  by email at [email protected].