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An Oil Rig Is Considered a Vessel Under Maritime Law

Under the law, an oil rig is considered a vessel which means that workers injured on an oil rig are afforded certain rights and benefits under maritime law, specifically the Jones Act. This the definition of a vessel according to 46 CFR 197.204:

Vessel means any waterborne craft including mobile offshore drilling units required to have a Certificate of Inspection issued by the Coast Guard or any waterborne craft connected with a deepwater port or within the deepwater port safety zone, or any waterborne craft engaged in activities related to the Outer Continental Shelf.

Based on this definition as well as case law, we’re able to say that most times an oil rig is considered vessels and is under maritime law.


0:02 On an oil rig, normally Coast Guard regulations will apply because they’re [the rigs] are actually vessels. A lot of these oil rigs, even as large as they are, even though you have people who live on them for two weeks at time, they’re considered vessels, because most of them will float or be towed to a different location.

0:17 It’s a very broad definition of a vessel and we get that a lot of times from our clients who say, “Well, I wasn’t on a boat, I was on an oil rig. Why can you be my lawyer?”

0:26 Well, an oil rig under most cases is considered a vessel under the law. The regulations that apply are Coast Guard, Marine Management Services (MMS). Companies have to be following these rules and if they’re not, then you need to take them to court over it.

If you are seeking an experienced maritime law and Jones Act lawyer for your accident or injury case, then look no further. Contact The Young Firm at (866) 938-6113.

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