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Millions Recovered

  • $5,400,000.00 settlement involving a seaman who fell from a stairway during fire and boat drill aboard a container ship sustaining quadriplegic injuries. Partners Mellusi and Shisha personally inspected the vessel taking hundreds of measurements and still and videos of every stairway in the ship’s main deck house. The data was compared with the vessel’s design plans in our library which demonstrated the vessel had been negligently constructed in that it failed to follow the naval architect’s original design specifications.
  • $4,400,000.00 jury award to a former shipmate who sustained a shoulder injury while at sea. The third mate had to undergo multiple surgeries and will not be able to become a captain because of the injury.
  • $2,400,000 jury award to a licensed marine engineer who sustained permanent knee injuries while attempting to remove a 200 lb. valve from an overhead piping system. Partner Mellusi personally inspected the ship’s engine room taking detailed photos and measurements. A duplicate valve was obtained from a maritime junkyard and was brought into court along with an auto-shop mechanical hoist capable of lifting it 12 feet to demonstrate the vessel lacked suitable means to perform this work safely. The jury award was in top ten verdicts in the United States for a comparable knee injury. The case was tried to verdict in a New York Federal Court.
  • $2,980,000.00 jury award to a ship’s cook for back injury resulting from insufficient procedures for moving ship stores. Case tried in New York federal court.
  • $2,700,000.00 settlement to a mate on a Tanker vessel who sustained multiple fractures.
  • $2,000,000.00 was awarded to a barge deckhand – wrongful death.
  • $1,827,000 awarded to a marine engineer working on a US Government supply vessel who fell into an unguarded ventilation fan causing neck, shoulder and hand injuries. The case was tried non-jury before a federal judge in Baltimore Federal Court. The court award was subsequently determined to be within the highest ten verdicts for the State of Maryland in 2009.
  • $1,200,000.00 jury award to a ship’s Bosun who sustained shoulder and neck injuries while attempting to move plywood sheets on main deck of vessel during 40 knot winds. Case tried in New York Federal Court.
  • $950,000 awarded to passenger killed when his recreational boat came into collision with tow wire of tug and barge
  • $850,000 settlement, Federal Court Allentown PA., to seaman sustained herniated disk while lifting a 110 lbs crane hooks.
  • $840,000 jury award to a seaman who fell from ladder while painting sustaining fractured wrist.
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Will opening up the Arctic Ocean to sea vessels lead to another Titanic disaster?

On April 15, 1912, more than 1,500 passengers perished when the luxury ocean liner the Titanic crashed into an iceberg in the frigid North Atlantic waters and sank. While today's sea vessels are outfitted with state-of-the-art navigation and technology systems, concerns that a similar tragedy could occur in the same icy waters have been renewed in recent years as the Arctic Ocean has opened up as a major shipping route.

Melting icecaps and glaciers combined with unpredictable weather and inhospitable sea conditions combine to make the Arctic region particularly hazardous. As the ice continues to melt and retreat, shipping vessels and cruise ships are opting for routes much farther north which increases the likelihood of a vessel encountering an iceberg or other challenging situation which could be disastrous for the seamen and passengers aboard.

Roughly 35 years ago, countries across the world agreed to assume emergency and rescue operations for sea vessels in peril near their shores. At the time, however, the Arctic Ocean was rarely traversed and therefore no countries pledged to come to the aid of those sea vessels and seamen who met an ill fate in Arctic waters.

Four years ago, Arctic bordering countries like Russia and the U.S. agreed to assume search and rescue responsibilities for the region. However, given the vast expanses of the Arctic Ocean and its unpredictable and dangerous conditions, the success of any such SAR mission is doubtful.

In an effort to promote safety and environmental conservation within the Arctic region, the Polar Code was recently passed into law. The provisions of the law, however, fail to establish clear safety regulations and restrictions when it comes to key safety concerns related to "ice-strengthened hulls, speed limits and the structural stability of vessels."

 

Source: The Maritime Executive, "Titanic Threats Still Lurk Today," Albert Buixadé Farré, April 21, 2015

History.com, "Titanic sinks," April 21, 2015

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