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Louisiana tugboat company charged with breaking maritime safety laws

The towboat company that owns a vessel that was involved in the 2008 crash with a tanker that caused a major oil spill on the Mississippi River has been charged with operating vessels with unqualified and overworked captains.

On July 23, 2008, the towboat Mel Oliver crashed into the tanker Tintomara. The collision caused 238,000 gallons of oil to be spilled into the Mississippi River. The river was closed for six days. A Coast Guard investigation found that a sleep-deprived apprentice mate was at the helm without a captain by his side.

The company is charged with breaking maritime safety and environmental laws for creating hazardous conditions by operating a fleet of tugboats and barges with unqualified and overworked maritime workers at the helm, often with no captain onboard. One of the company’s owners is charged with obstruction of justice for deleting payroll records needed in the Coast Guard investigation.

When companies take shortcuts to save money, they put workers at risk. If you are an offshore worker and have been injured because of a lack of training, lack of proper equipment, overwork, or inadequate supervision, you may have a Jones Act case. To learn more, call the New Orleans maritime attorneys at The Young Firm.

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