In Philadelphia, a duck boat which is a sight-seeing bus that also operates as a seagoing vessel, was hit and run over by a barge, which resulted in two deaths and other injuries.
This is an example of a case that would fall under Maritime Law, and give any of the passengers or crew who were injured rights to seek compensation either under the laws applying to crewmembers, which would potentially involve Jones Act claims,
Unseaworthiness claims, and possible wrongful death claims. The passenger’s cases would be governed by the Maritime Law which imposes legal obligations on the operators of both the tugboat and the passenger tourist duck boat.
The Coast Guard was investigating whether the barge owner complied with their obligations under the Maritime Law regarding having a proper lookout, and whether the passenger duck boat followed proper maritime procedures by operating their boat in a reasonably safe manner, and taking the appropriate actions to avoid the collision.
Anytime there is a collision between two boats or vessels involving Maritime Law, there is usually an apportionment of fault between the two ships involved in the collision.
The two passengers who died during the collision would potentially result in wrongful death lawsuits by the beneficiaries of the Estates, involving Maritime Law claims. Anyone injured, would also have claims for their personal injuries suffered onboard the passenger boat.
As is standard when these types of collisions occur, the NTSB is investigating, and at some point and time there will be a full report by the NTSB which will contain findings of facts and conclusions of law, which become very helpful to the Maritime injury attorney handling any cases arising out of such collisions. Our maritime personal injury firm has handled many maritime claims arising out of collisions involving both commercial vessels as well pleasure watercraft and boats.