Jones Act Protects Crewmembers from Assault

Officials in Maryland have arrested a tugboat captain after he allegedly assaulted another man on the boat with a metal pipe.  According to the Maryland Natural Resources Police, the incident occurred on February 23 on a tugboat on the Wicomico River.

When the NRP officers reached the scene, they interviewed the victim, a 57-year-old man who claimed that the captain of the boat had assaulted him with a metal pipe.  The victim alleged that the captain had hit him on the head with a pipe, leaving him with head injuries.  The captain has been arrested, and charged with first and second degree assault.  He is being held at the Wicomico County detention center.

There are few details about the alleged assault here.  However, seamen who qualify under the Jones Act may be eligible for protection from dangerous crewmembers.  Under the doctrine of seaworthiness, a vessel owner is required to provide a seaworthy vessel.  Seaworthiness includes not just the physical condition of the vessel, but also the type of crewmembers that the vessel owner hires.  Crew members who are injured due to the negligence or incompetence of other crewmembers, or are injured during an assault by another crew member, may be eligible to file an unseaworthiness claim against the owner of the vessel.  Unseaworthiness claims are always filed against the owner of the vessel, and not the employer, unless these two happen to be the same entity.

The Jones Act attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent injured maritime workers, including offshore oil workers, barge crews, fishing vessel crews, cruise line workers and other maritime workers across the globe.