Container ship fires often lead to injury

| Dec 8, 2020 | Burn Injuries, Maritime Law |

Anyone who has seen a loaded container ship likely wonders how the ship stacked with cargo stays afloat. But fires onboard are another real danger while at sea or in port. Not only can these fires cause a disastrous impact upon the environment, but they also pose a risk of injury or death to the crew members.

Unlike luxury liners for travelers, container ships have narrow passages and tight quarters. These are tankers, but the cargo can still be hazardous or flammable. These conditions lead to injuries on the water every year, with fires being especially devastating. Common causes of fires include:

  • Engine malfunction: These giant motors overheat just like in cars, which can cause a fire near where there is oil or fuel.
  • Bad wiring: There are miles of wiring on these ships, much of it hard to access but still exposed to salt air and challenging conditions.
  • Combustible cargo: This can happen if cargo is improper labeled or stowed for sea.
  • Kitchen equipment: Ships are often old, and the equipment breaks down, which can be a real problem in the ship’s galley.

The injured may deserve compensation

Ship workers seriously injured in a fire are often the victims of negligence. This can be a coworker not exercising caution when dealing with dangerous equipment or a company that does not properly maintain its ships or train staff. The injured ship worker can use the Jones Act much like a worker on land seeks damages if they were on the job in an office or factory.

Filing an injury claim

The process for filing a claim under the Jones Act involves the following:

  1. Report the injury to a supervisor within seven days.
  2. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
  3. Make an official statement and fill out an accident report.
  4. Settle the claim or pursue a lawsuit.

This is complicated

Maritime law is even confusing to attorneys who handle land-based personal injury cases. So the injured or their family best serve their interests if they speak with a maritime law attorney before making an official statement and filing a claim.