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What We’ve Learned From the Numerous Ferry Accidents That Are Sweeping the Nation


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9/7/2016
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Every society built close to a large body of water quickly learns how to take full advantage of that water’s potential for commerce, transportation, and personal gain. Since the beginning of time, people living near oceans, seas, lakes and rivers have used them for trade, recreation, and survival.

At the same time, however, people who live near the water are also continually aware of the dangers it poses. The possibility of serious injuries or even death is always present whenever passengers climb aboard a ferry, barge, ship, or other vessel. Unfortunately, in light of recent disaster statistics, the frequency and severity of these risks seem to be wavering from rare and minor to mainstream and catastrophic—especially for ferry rides.

Memorable Ferry Disasters

Ferry accidents appear to have been on a one-way course to destruction over the past 20 years, and they don’t seem to be slowing down. Due to the nature of ferry travel—large numbers of passengers, frequent trips back and forth, and long crew hours—the occasional tragedy, although, may be expected. However, just because they’re expected, doesn’t mean they should be accepted, forgotten, or ignored. The following are just a few of the ferry tragedies that have occurred recently that need to be recognized.

  • 2012 Galveston overboard ferry accident. A 45-year old Texas woman died after falling from a ferry running between Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island. An investigation into the ferry’s emergency overboard tactics is still underway as the woman’s lifeless body was found 1,500 feet from where she fell in by the Coast Guard later that evening.
  • 2013 New York wharf collision. During an attempt to dock, the ferry apparently had some mechanical failures and the captain was unable to prevent the vessel from ramming into the dock. The captain later said that the ferry’s controls and engines failed during the attempt to dock, and the ferry crashed into a concrete slip. As a result of the collision’s sharp impact, many of the commuters were thrown against walls or down stairs. Of the more than 300 passengers who were on board at the time, approximately 70 received minor injuries, and 11 were seriously hurt.
  • 2016 Yangtze River (China) accident. The Eastern Star ferry capsized as a result of turbulent winds and presumed pilot error. The passenger ship accident left over 450 people dead, trapped in the hull of the capsized boat—only four, including the captain, were rescued.

And of course, the 2003 Staten Island Ferry crash. The Staten Island ferry crashed into a pier at the St. George ferry terminal, killing ten passengers and leaving 22 more with serious injuries ranging from amputations to head and neck injuries.

What Have We Learned?

Ferry accidents are not only becoming more common but also more and more senseless. Over the past decade, we’ve seen tragedy over tragedy but have yet to take what we’ve learned, and apply it to improving the safety of ferry travel. Some things to take to heart include the need to…

  • Protect passengers. Whether on a passenger boat or a cargo ship in the port, one constant holds true: there is always the possibility of a serious accident. Ferry boat companies need to strengthen safety procedures for emergency situations, provide safer accommodations for passengers to limit collision injuries, and train crew members on the importance of staying alert and controlled.
  • Increase safety awareness. Maintenance regulations, weather safety precautions, and emergency procedures must be updated to higher standards. Although a “memorable” accident may only occur once in a while, there are easy fixes that can minimize minor risks and prevent major accidents from turning into fatal ones.
  • Educate victims about their legal rights. Those injured in ferry accidents almost certainly have a right to financial compensation for their injuries. Victims can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the ferry or any other parties that might be found responsible for the crash. To make sure the injured commuters obtain fair compensation, it’s important that they do not delay taking action.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a maritime accident which was primarily caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to take these lessons to heart. Contact attorney Steve Lee to learn more about your eligibility and opportunity to gain the financial compensation you need to put your life back together. He’s given hundreds of victims like you the support and guidance they need to get their heads above water.

Isn’t it time he helped you float above the abyss of injury debt? Call now at 800-232-3711 to schedule a free consultation or fill out the Quick Contact form on this page to learn more.



Category: Maritime and Offshore Cases

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