According to a report from the WorkBoat, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has completed its investigation into an October 2020 maritime accident that caused more than $70 million in damage. Federal regulators concluded that a tanker master’s “fatigue” was the primary cause of the crash. Further, the investigators determined that the vessel owner/operator failed to follow its own internal safety policies. In this article, our Texas maritime law attorneys provide an overview of the NTSB investigation.
Maritime Accident: Atina Striking of Oil Platform Off the Coast of Louisiana
On the morning of October 17th, 2020, a tanker named the Atina was travelling with a crew of 21 off the coast of Pilottown, Louisiana. Suddenly, the vessel struck a manned oil and gas production platform. The five-member crew of the oil platform had to be evacuated via helicopter. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported in the maritime accident—but the collision caused nearly $75 million in damage. In accordance with federal law, the NTSB initiated a comprehensive investigation into the maritime accident.
Federal maritime safety regulators determined that the accident occurred, in part, because the tanker company failed to comply with its own internal safety regulations. The tanker master told investigators that he wanted to anchor the ship earlier because he was dealing with significant fatigue and was operating on little to no sleep for nearly 50 consecutive hours. The company’s failure to ensure that the tanker master—who had travelled across the world from Turkey the previous day—had adequate time to rest before taking control of the vessel.
Maritime Safety is Paramount: Employers Must Ensure Proper Rest Time
Under federal maritime safety regulations, companies that own and operate vessels have a legal responsibility to ensure that they are protecting the health, safety, and well-being of their crewmembers. Within its official report on the Atina oil platform collision, the NTSB emphasizes the vessel operators have a duty to ensure that crewmembers and other maritime personnel are given sufficient handover/rest time before taking control of critical duties.
When a crew member is responsible for operating a vessel, navigation, or any other duties materially related to the safety of the vessel, they need to be well-rested. A maritime worker who is expected to work extreme hours and/or not given adequate rest time puts the entire crew in jeopardy. A maritime company can be held legally liable for an accident caused by fatigue.
Call Our Houston, TX Maritime Law Attorney for Immediate Help
At the Kolodny Law Firm, our Houston maritime law attorneys are standing by, ready to help you secure full and fair financial compensation for your injuries. If you or your loved one was injured aboard a vessel, we are here to help you get compensation. Contact us now for a free, fully private initial consultation with an experienced attorney. With a law office in Houston, our law firm represents maritime accident victims throughout the Gulf Coast region.