People imagine that working on a cruise ship is filled with fun, entertainment and exhilarating world travel. When job-seekers sign contracts to work on these vessels they are suddenly thrown into a much harsher reality. Many cruise ships push their crewmembers to the limit with hard labor and long hours. Some employees are brought to the point of exhaustion and injury.
There is no question that working on a ship is dangerous. Ropes that contain thousands of pounds of pressure, heavy equipment that needs to be moved, slippery decks, narrow stairwells and deep tanks all pose risks of injury to those who work aboard. While some injuries received on a ship may be slight, like a sprained wrist or a bruised shoulder, others can leave men and women in New York unable to return to work and therefore support themselves and their families.
An injury to a worker on a ship in New York is not the same as suffering an injury while working a job on land. For one thing, the person must use maritime laws to seek appropriate compensation. This gives the injured seaman the right to sue the owner of the vessel for negligence while also claiming maintenance and cure benefits. The lawsuit against the owner can ask for damages that do not involve medical care or living expenses while on land to seek medical treatment for the injury.
Working on a fishing boat is not easy. You have to continuously deal with heavy equipment, rough seas, slippery decks and bad weather. While other New Yorkers often spend their winter days in warm buildings, you must brave the cold while hauling in crab, lobster, black sea bass or other marine delicacies. You also have to be on the watch for symptoms of frostbite.
Many people along the shoreline of New York decide to make fishing their career. Some of them own their own boat while others decide to work on someone else’s ship. The smaller vessels will often just sail out for the day and return under the cover of darkness while larger ships – those in search of crab or large tuna – may stay out for a week or more. Fishermen who work on these ships often find themselves in tight quarters, and they must be constantly on the lookout for swinging equipment, littered decks and slippery surfaces. If they are not careful, or the ship’s officers have failed to do their part, injury can easily occur.
If you work on or around commercial vessels or platforms in New York, you should be aware that there are many accident risks. However, what are the most common types of accidents that occur on the water?
Working around a ship can expose people to a number of toxins and one of these is lead. In a previous post, it was discussed how New Yorkers working in a shipyard could be inhaling lead particles while performing routine maintenance. Therefore, it is important for workers around ships to learn how to identify the signs that they may be suffering from lead poisoning.
Taking a cruise is viewed by many New Yorkers as the ideal way to escape their everyday stresses and the industry is booming. As cruise ships grow in size with more cabins, waterslides, rock walls, dance clubs, restaurants and other features, the risk of passenger injuries also seems to increase. Statistic Brain states that since 1979, 172 passengers have died on these floating hotels and 55 ships have sunk. Additionally, thousands of people have suffered some type of injury while on board.
Vessels can have far more workers aboard them than just those involved with its navigation and engines. For example, there can be various general service-providing workers on maritime ships. Some examples of such workers are listed on this page of our website. Service-providing workers can be particularly common on passenger vessels, such as cruise ships.
If you are like other people in New York City, you may have decided to pursue a career at sea. The rolling ocean waves, the salty air and ability to travel to foreign places are big allures but there are also a lot of risks for injury. Here at Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP, we know that a sudden accident can end your dream of sailing the high seas and that not all accidents occur above deck.