Seamen who are injured at work can assert a claim and recover damages for the unseaworthiness of the vessel. The doctrine of unseaworthiness affects all ship elements - parts of the vessel, its equipment, and the whole crew on board. Let’s explore some real-life examples of injury-causing vessel unseaworthiness so you can understand better what that means.
Unseaworthiness of the Vessel and Its Appurtenance
The proper maintenance of any ship is essential to its safety. On top of that vessel owners should regularly inspect the vessel to make sure that all tools and equipment are in proper condition. Some typical examples of unseaworthiness related to vessels and their appurtenances include:
- Lack of non-skid on the deck
- Lines that are in poor condition
- Lack of equipment like cranes or winches
- Failure to provide adequate safety equipment
- Inadequate supplies
- Defective tools
While a vessel can be seaworthy - shipshape and fit for its intended use, the case would change with any of the above factors present.
Unseaworthiness and the Crew
It is the crew that runs the ship and faces the challenges of their duty daily. Even if the ship with all its supplies and tools complies with safety standards, it could be the human factor that makes the vessel unseaworthy. For instance, any of these pose risks and are examples of unseaworthiness:
- Improperly trained crew
- Inadequate crew size
- Improper work methods or operations
You have the right to file a claim for unseaworthiness if any of the above examples caused your injury. The proper party to assert the claim against is the vessel owner, even if they are not your employer.
Save for Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims, an injured seaman has another important remedy - maintenance and cure. Learn all about this remedy and whether it can apply to your case.