A shrimper reportedly died on November 6, 2011, off Hernando Beach in Tampa, Florida. Robert T. Parker, 58, fell overboard into the Gulf of Mexico, and responders got involved at about 1:00 a.m. Parker was brought ashore at the Hernando Beach Boat Ramp. He was taken to Oak Hill Hospital but was later pronounced dead. A spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which assisted in the attempted rescue, said, “He lost his balance and went over the port side. He was up on the bow, where it bounces the most.”
Apparently high winds and a choppy sea contributed to the accident. The boat owner and operator, Norman Soucy, 37, says he tried to rescue Parker. He used the hydraulic system on the boat to bring Parker aboard and sent a distress call out to the US Coast Guard. But his efforts were unsuccessful as he found his deckhand unresponsive.
The small shrimping vessel was about three miles out to sea, which may qualify Parker’s survivors for compensation under the Death on the High Seas Act.
A fellow Hernando Beach shrimp boat co-owner, Kathryn Biren, said that the conditions were very nasty and that “It was not a good place for a small vessel to be.”
The accident was under investigation at the time of this report.
The maritime lawyers at The Young Firm in New Orleans offer their sincere condolences to Parker’s family.