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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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U.S. and Liberian vessels collide in early morning hours

Every New York seaman aboard a vessel on the ocean should be aware of safety procedures, understanding that these can be different at night. Vessels respond to hazards following protocols based on the size, weight and other factors, as well. Regardless of the conditions, rigorous attention to duties is essential to prevent those on board from being harmed. 

The USS John S. McCain was recently involved in a collision with the Alnic MC, an oil tanker registered under a Liberian flag. It was near dawn when the accident between the merchant vessel and the guided-missile destroyer occurred. Details of the accident are still under investigation. However, experts note that many cargo vessels operate on autopilot, a function that can be time-consuming and expensive to turn off. On Navy ships, sailors most likely to be performing duty at that time of night are often younger officers. It is not known whether either of these factors may have come into play in this accident.

The ships were near the Strait of Malacca, which is a highly congested area off the coast of Singapore. Both vessels are being assessed for damage and repairs in Singapore. While no crew members on the Alnic MC were injured, five sailors from the John S. McCain sustained injuries, and 10 others are not yet accounted for. The area of the ship that was damaged included flooding to communications and machinery rooms, as well as those containing crew berths.

Often, a combination of circumstances may lead to tragic events on vessels. Seamen who are injured in the course of duty may seek the advice of an attorney regarding whether compensation may be due.

Source: The New York Times, "10 Missing After U.S. Navy Ship and Oil Tanker Collide Off Singapore," Hannah Beech and Matthew Haag, Aug. 20, 2017

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