Gulf of Mexico Ship Collision Illustrates Risks Faced by Maritime Workers, Houston Lawyers Say

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When negligence or the unseaworthiness of a vessel is to blame for a maritime accident, injured maritime workers and their families may be eligible for compensation, say Houston attorneys Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin.

Houston maritime attorney, Texas offshore worker injury lawyer, ship collisions, fishing boats, cargo vessels, Jones Act, maritime law, maintenance and cure, Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana

Houston maritime lawyer Kurt Arnold

Maritime workers do important work for our Gulf Coast economy by fishing our waters, transporting our goods and contributing to the supply of our oil and energy needs, but as this incident shows, they risk serious injury and death every day on the job.

A tragic collision this week between two ships in the Gulf of Mexico drives home the fact that working offshore can be dangerous, Houston maritime injury lawyer Kurt Arnold said today.

According to the Associated Press, the F/V Sandy Point (a 163-foot fishing ship operated by Omega Protein, Inc.) collided with the Eurus London (a 660-foot commercial cargo vessel) shortly before 9 p.m. on May 20 in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately eight miles south of Gulfport, Mississippi, near Ship Island.

As a result of the collision, the F/V Sandy Point sank with 16 crew members aboard. Although the U.S. Coast Guard has rescued 13 members of the fishing vessel’s crew, search-and-rescue efforts are still under way to find three crew members who are missing, the AP has reported.

Officials from the U.S. Coast Guard and Mississippi Department of Marine Resources are teaming up on the search-and-rescue operation, and the accident is being investigated.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the offshore workers involved in this tragic accident and their families,” said Arnold, an experienced Houston maritime accident attorney and co-founder of Arnold & Itkin LLP.

“Maritime workers do important work for our Gulf Coast economy by fishing our waters, transporting our goods and contributing to the supply of our oil and energy needs, but as this incident shows, they risk serious injury and death every day on the job.

“That’s why the law provides them and their survivors with important rights,” he said. “When an accident occurs at sea, it’s crucial that maritime workers or their families contact an experienced maritime lawyer who can review their case and help them to assert those rights.”

For instance, under the Jones Act, injured seamen or their survivors are entitled to file a lawsuit against a maritime employer when their fellow crew members or a ship owner's negligence or the unseaworthiness of a vessel has caused injury or death.

Additionally, a seaman who becomes injured or falls ill while in the service to a vessel has a right under general maritime law to receive any unearned wages through the end of the voyage as well as the benefits of maintenance and cure.

“Seamen have a right to these benefits regardless of fault on the part of the employer or any other party,” said Jason Itkin, a Houston maritime injury lawyer and Arnold & Itkin co-founder.

“These rights are the unconditional responsibility of the seaman's employer and are in addition to any rights and benefits to which the seaman may be entitled to under the Jones Act,” Itkin said.

“At Arnold & Itkin, we take very seriously the legal rights afforded maritime workers under the Jones Act and the principles of general maritime law, and we want to make sure employers respect and adhere to those rights.”

About Arnold & Itkin LLP

The maritime accident lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP, a personal injury law firm based in Houston, Texas, understand the complexities and legalities of maritime law and have a successful track record of verdicts and settlements in favor of maritime workers. The law firm provides legal guidance on all aspects of maritime law and the benefits offshore workers are entitled to under the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, the principle of maintenance and cure, or the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

Arnold & Itkin LLP handles maritime claims at port cities along the Gulf Coast in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The firm can be contacted toll free at (866) 222-2606 or through its website.

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