Recently in Ferry Workers Category

October 14, 2015

$100,000,000 lawsuit filed after sinking

A lawyer representing the family of Lonnie Jordan, an El Faro crew member, has filed a $100 million lawsuit against TOTE Service Inc. and TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, as well as the El Faro captain. The ship sank off the Bahamas on October 1st, and search and rescue ended after eight days. On October 5th, the U.S. Coast Guard found a body of a crewmember in a survival suit.

The lawsuit was filed family by attorney Willie E. Gary. Gary has accused the company of negligence and putting profit ahead of the lives of its employees. "We hope to get to the bottom of this," Gary said. "We are at war now."

"Tote Services, negligently permitted the El Faro to sail out to sea despite being in an unseaworthy condition to handle the conditions of a violent storm," the lawsuit states.

Continue reading "$100,000,000 lawsuit filed after sinking" »

October 13, 2015

Enclosed area death and injury reach unacceptable rates

A shift in the approach to safety management of enclosed spaces on board ships is needed. Fifteen years ago, while working as an independent surveyor, I was carrying out a condition survey on board a bulk carrier. The scope of the survey included testing the emergency generator, located in the steering flat and accessed by an inclined ladder.

Accompanied by the superintendent and the chief engineer, we had no sooner reached the bottom of the space when the chief engineer urgently ordered us all out. By the time we had exited the space, within seconds, we were all in a state of dizziness and confusion, compounded by our inability to comprehend what had just occurred. Further investigation revealed that Freon gas had leaked from refrigeration machinery located in the steering flat and being heavier than air, had migrated into the emergency generator space, displacing breathable air. It was a lucky escape. Victims of asphyxiation in enclosed spaces deficient in oxygen will normally receive no such warning that anything is wrong or have the ability to quickly escape.

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November 14, 2014

Design Flaw in Ferry Tacoma

A power surge caused by a design flaw destroyed the power cables in the ferry's circuit breaker control, causing the ship to lose power as it approached Bainbridge Island on July 29, 2014. According to Lynne Griffith, Assistant Secretary for the state Ferries Division.

The ferry MV TACOMA lost power as it headed towards Bainbridge Island with more than 400 passengers aboard. The crew dropped anchor, the first time in 30 years for a WA state ferry, so the ferry wouldn't drift hit the island. The tugboat LINDSEY FOSS towed the TACOMA to Eagle Harbor.

WA State ferry officials estimate that the repairs on the TACOMA and sister ships will cost $1.8 million, and the TACOMA might not be back to work until Spring 2015.

April 20, 2014

Ferry Sinks - Korean Tragedy

On April 16, there were 476 people known to be on board SEWOL. According to reports, 339 of these people were high school students from Danwon High School in Ansan, which is not too far from Seoul, along with some of their teachers. The rest of the people were passengers on other business, and crew.

About 16 miles from shore off the southern tip of South Korea, shortly before 9:00 a.m. KST, in calm weather, SEWOL made a hard turn and began to list. Minutes later, a loud noise reverberated. Whilst most of the passengers obeyed the captain's instructions to remain in their quarters, SEWOL listed ever farther to port, eventually to a degree which removed all hope of evacuating those passengers.

By the time the captain made the call to abandon ship, about an half-hour after that hard turn, the intercom system no longer functioned. Good Samaritans in the area and arriving rescue workers saved as many people as they could find, as the SEWOL beam listed perpendicular to the sea, trapping students and other passengers inside. SEWOL took over three hours to sink completely into seas where SAR divers report visibility to be mere inches in front of their faces.

November 7, 2012

Alaska Ferry Worker Injured

An Alaska ferry worker was injured on the passenger loading ramp at Bellingham Cruise Terminal, in Fairhaven.

The ferry ramp operator, who was not identified, was lowering the passenger ramp into place on the stern of the ship when a cable snapped and the ramp collapsed. The worker fell about 20 feet, landing on the damaged ramp.

Workers called an ambulance and the injured ferry worker was taken to St. Joseph hospital. No update on her condition was available Friday evening.

The M/V COLUMBIA, a 418-foot vessel, was scheduled to leave the terminal, 355 Harris Ave., at 6 p.m., but was delayed.

No foot passengers were boarding the ferry at the time of the accident. A few had already driven vehicles onboard.

April 25, 2012

Staten Island Ferry Crash

A loss of propulsion control caused by a faulty valve and lack of alarm to alert crewmembers caused the 2010 Staten Island Ferry collision with the ferry terminal, according to findings from the NTSB investigation into the incident.  

The NTSB says that on May 8, 2010, the 310-foot-long passenger ferry Andrew J. Barberi, one of two ferry boats operated as part of the world famous Staten Island Ferry, lost propulsion control to one its two cycloidal propellers as the vessel approached St. George terminal in Staten Island, New York, causing the ferry to crash into the dock.  The crash resulted in three passengers suffering serious injuries and more than 40 passengers and crew reported with minor injuries.

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December 1, 2011

3 Sailors Dead, 8 Missing

Three sailors died and eight others are missing after a Turkish trade ship collided with a passenger ferry and sank in the Adriatic.

Sailing under a Maltese flag and loaded with aluminum, the 3,000-ton Reina 1, whose owner and crew were Turkish, sank immediately after the collision with the car ferry Ankara in international waters, said police spokeswoman Ornela Cako. The crash happened at around 2 a.m. (23:00 GMT) on Thursday some 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the Albanian port of Durres.

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October 12, 2011

Ferry Delayed by Man Overboard

A man either fell or jumped from a Washington State Ferry was rescued from the waters of Puget Sound on Tuesday afternoon by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard said a crew on one of their escort boats saw someone jump off the Walla Walla and into the water. The boat investigated and pulled a person out of the water.

The man, in his 40s, was in the water for less than a minute and was taken to the Bell Harbor Marina to be evaluated by a Seattle Fire Department crew, the Coast Guard said. Crews there warmed him up and took him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The man did not suffer major injuries.

October 29, 2010

Court Finds in Favor of Fisherman

A King County Judge has ordered B&N Fisheries to reinstate an injured crewman's maintenance and care benefits.

The Court further ordered the company to authorize surgery for the crewman's elbow and to pay reasonable attorney fees in connection with the motion. B&N Fisheries moved to block the attorney fee award, arguing that only a jury can determine the amount of attorney fees due in a case involving the wrongful withholding of maintenance and care. The Court denied the motion and again affirmed the crewman's right to be compensated for attorney fees.

October 18, 2010

Fire means end of historic ferry

"Everything below deck is toast," remarked a firefighter.

And so is a piece of Northwest maritime history.

An Aug. 28 blaze gutted the engine room of the tour boat MV Kirkland at its Marina Park dock in Kirkland, Wash. In all likelihood the fire spelled an end to the vessel's long career, which dates to 1924.

The wooden-hulled boat was regarded as a treasure by its owners, Argosy Cruises, as well as Kirkland residents. Used primarily on Lake Washington, it's listed on the Washington Heritage Register and National Register of Historic Places.

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October 10, 2010

Coast Guard bill covers safety

President Obama is expected to sign a sweeping authorization bill that reorganizes U.S Coast Guard operations, increases maritime safety rules and calls for improved oil-spill prevention and response in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The legislation, largely written by Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, was blocked by Republican leaders in the Senate for the past four years. To get approval, several provisions were stripped from the bill in the Senate. Then in the House, many of these ideas were put back in and ultimately approved when it came back to the Senate.

What are the most important parts of the bill? Well, that depends on whether you are involved in the Coast Guard, the shipping industry, the fishing fleet or just want to protect against oil spills or terrorists.

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October 8, 2010

Chetzemoka makes inaugural sailing.

The first new ferry in Washington state in more than a decade will make its inaugural sailing Sunday, Nov. 14, between Whidbey Island and Port Townsend.

The 64-vehicle MV Chetzemoka, named after the late Klallam Chief Chetzemoka, will be christened by Gov. Chris Gregoire and recognized by the Klallam tribes. Chief Chetzemoka was known as a peaceful man and a wise diplomat who was believed to be about 80 when he died in 1888.

The governor, legislators, state and local officials and an estimated 300 invited guests from communities on both sides of Admiralty Inlet will board the vessel at the Whidbey Island Coupeville (Keystone) terminal following ceremonies. They will take a one-hour cruise to Port Townsend where representatives of the Klallam tribes will conduct a ceremony aboard the Chetzemoka.

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September 28, 2010

Seattle Water Taxi rams sea wall

The West Seattle water taxi rammed the sea wall at the Seattle waterfront Sunday, becoming wedged under the Washington Street Public Boat Landing.

Service was briefly suspended Sunday when the Rachel Marie struck the dock. County officials say Pier 50 was not damaged in the accident because the boat veered south and ran into another small dock.

Seven passengers were taken to hospital, their injuries were not believed to be significant, according to Coast Guard Lt. Jon Lane. None remained hospitalized Monday

Coast Guard inspectors are determining what caused the vessel to crash into the sea wall. Preliminary reports point to a mechanical malfunction, according to King County. The vessel caused "fairly significant" damage, Lane said, and had been wedged under the landing, on the Seattle waterfront. The vessel was traveling at about 6 knots.

Lane said 73 people were onboard the Rachel Marie at the time of the accident, many headed to the Seahawks game.