Articles Tagged with maritime

Due to a variety of television programs, films and books devoted to the perils of commercial fishing and oil production, the American public is gaining a better and better understanding of just how dangerous maritime work tends to be. Tragically, not all offshore accidents result only in maritime injury and property damage. A staggering number of American maritime workers are killed on the job each year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released data that helps to define the scope of this tragedy. The CDC has determined that offshore maritime workers face a risk of being killed on the job that is seven times higher than the national worker fatality average. This makes offshore maritime work the most deadly profession an American can opt to pursue.

Some maritime accidents, like the Deepwater Horizon explosion that rocked the coast of Louisiana in 2010, are highly publicized. Others do not generate as much media attention but are no less tragic. Eleven workers died in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, but 128 total offshore workers were killed on the job between 2003 and 2010 alone.

Commercial fishing and other maritime work is inherently dangerous. In fact, commercial fishing is America’s most dangerous industry. When seafarers board their vessels and navigate machinery in uncertain weather conditions in open water, they require every possible safety precaution in order to prevent maritime injuries and wrongful death. One key precautionary measure is too often overlooked.

Seafarers spend a considerable amount of time ensuring that their vessels and equipment are properly maintained. They ensure that they are adequately trained in their jobs and in safety procedures. But mounting evidence suggests that maritime workers and their employers do not spend enough time or resources ensuring that anyone operating a seafaring vessel is fit and healthy.

In an effort to address this critical safety issue, a new website called Training on Board was recently created and launched. Its aim is to educate seafarers on the link between physical health and safety. In particular, the site emphasizes good nutrition and physical training as a way to combat fatigue and other health-related safety concerns.

A bold and landmark ruling was recently handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court held that long term disability payments for longshoremen will now be determined by the date the disability or death occurred rather than the date the employee was first awarded compensation.

This clarification removes confusion as to when to begin payments; a date which determines the ultimate payment amount for an injured longshoreman. This decision will have implications across the U.S.

The Supreme Court explored the example of two workers hurt in the same incident on the same day who may have been awarded different compensation amounts based on arbitrary court dates. This new ruling will ensure something like this does not happen again.

Seafaring work poses unique dangers that land-based work does not. As a result, American mariners are entitled to the protection of a number of federal laws that regulate shipboard safety and provide remedies for workers who are injured in maritime accidents. In addition to those laws, nearly all seamen – whether they are American or not – are protected by the International Safety Management (ISM) Code for ships.

The ISM Code is an integral part of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention. It serves a dual purpose to protect the safety of workers and protect against pollution of the sea.

The ISM Code sets a base standard that all ships must follow, regardless of the country in which they are registered.

Seafaring work has long been thought of as a male profession. To a certain extent, that is still true. Although women are increasingly finding their way into maritime work, they still make up less than two percent of all seafaring professionals.

However, just because women are in the minority doesn’t mean they don’t have rights. Like men, female mariners have a right to fair wages, a safe working environment that minimizes the risk of maritime accidents and to equal protection under the law. In addition, women mariners are entitled to certain protections if they become pregnant.

Below is an overview of some important rights of which every female mariner should be aware.

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