New York seamen aboard vessels around the world are subject to a number of risks that people in occupations on land never encounter. Accidents have the potential to be much deadlier when stranded in the open ocean, particularly when, as is frequently the case, rescue is not immediately available.
Damaged communications equipment may have played a part in the seriousness of the recent collision between the USS Fitzgerald and the container ship ACX Crystal. The destroyer was unable to radio for assistance, and there was no distress call sent until the merchant vessel returned an hour later. Investigators believe those on board the ship were not aware that they had hit the Fitzgerald. Meanwhile, the crew of the destroyer had to make life-or-death decisions in an attempt to prevent the damage from sinking them. Seven crew members from the destroyer were killed.
At the time of the collision, the commanding officer of the cargo ship was in his stateroom, which sustained severe damage. A helicopter transported him to the hospital after he was rescued, along with two other sailors from that vessel. Investigators are currently speculating that the ship was without the supervision from the crew that was required while on autopilot.
When a person at sea fails to do his or her duty because of fatigue or negligent actions, the results can be disastrous for many. An attorney may be able to help victims of these accidents and their loved ones to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, funeral costs and other expenses.
Source: USNI News, “Investigators believe USS Fitzgerald crew fought flooding for an hour before distress call reached help,” Sam LaGrone, June 21, 2017