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Gulf of Mexico Container Ship Accidents and the Jones Act


Container ships are used to transport many millions of tons of goods from port to port in truck-sized containers. First used in the 1950’s, container ships have reduced the cost of moving goods by 35% and cut shipping times by 84%. About 90% of all non-bulk items were moved by container ship in 2001, and the number has increased ever since.

Many Louisiana seamen are employed working on and around container ships, and their safety should be at the top of the list for all ship owners. However maritime accidents and injuries often occur in this line of work. Some of the safety concerns are:

  • Accidents when loading and unloading
  • Accidents when docking
  • Accidents in ports
  • Failure of lashing, locking and buttress systems
  • Crane accidents
  • Container onboard leaks and breakage
  • Containers shifting and falling onboard
  • Onboard fires
  • Dangers at sea: sinking, capsizing, grounding

Safety standards have been developed for all ships and ship owners. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) offers safety for container ship workers through their “International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.” The United States’ “Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49” covers all transportation of hazardous cargo.

Yet, accidents do happen. For example, in 2003 a container ship, the Sea Elegance, experienced an explosion and fire when a 20-ton container of a hazardous chemical self-ignited off the coast of South Africa. There were multiple injuries and one death in this accident.

It is important for all Louisiana seamen to understand that the Jones Act protects all members of container ship crews. Whether they are injured in the cargo working area, below deck, or on deck, each member of the crew has the right to “a safe place to work”. In addition, the Jones Act guarantees the right to file suit against an employer and collect damages for any type of negligence.

The Young Firm in New Orleans has served maritime workers in the Gulf Coast area for over 50 years. Their dedication to the rights of seamen is unparalleled. If you have questions about your on-the-job injury call today toll free at 866-666-5129 or fill out the simple form on this page.



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