New York is surrounded by water and the sight of commercial boats is a common one for residents in the area. There is a daily reminder of the variety of vessels that are involved in important activities including barges, ferries, tugboats and more. Regardless of the size of a vessel or the job it has to do, companies that own and operate commercial boats have a responsibility to ensure their safety in order to keep workers and others onboard safe.
It would be nice for people to believe and know that when they step aboard any commercial vessel, whether as an employee or as a passenger, that the boat is in good order and has been appropriately maintained. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There can be situations when a company fails to properly take care of a boat. This decision puts innocent people in harm’s way.
An example of this can be seen in a fatal accident that occurred on the Mississippi River two years ago. A tugboat with two people aboard overturned, presumably killing both although only one body has ever been found according to WMC Action News 5. Open stern hatches were said to be responsible for a lack of water tightness and for the ultimate sinking of the vessel.
To make matters worse, previous leakage problems with this tugboat had been reported by other workers on the boat yet the problem persisted. The mother of a 19-year-old man who drowned in the incident has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $5 million in damages.