Over 80 Combined Years Of Maritime Law Experience

What causes vessels to sink?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2023 | Injuries to Crewmen, Maritime Claims, Maritime Law, Vessel Sinkings, Wrongful Death

Working on a ship or other vessel is dangerous for a number of reasons.

However, even those who do not work at sea or frequently use boats probably know that the worst case scenario is for a boat to sink.

When a ship goes down, there is a good chance that crew members will lose their lives or suffer catastrophic injuries.

Sadly, even dying costs money in the form of any final medical bills and funeral expenses. Furthermore, victims’ families may never be able to count on their income and support again. Of course, losing a loved one is also an emotionally traumatic event.

The most basic reason a sink ships is that it takes on enough water or other weight so that the laws of physics no longer allow it to float on the surface of the sea.

Really, it is a wonder that something which weighs tons can skim over the surface of water, and that delicate balance can easily get broken.

Here are some common reasons why vessels sink:

  • The vessel runs aground or collides with an object, damaging the hull.
  • Bad weather, mechanical failure or other factors force the ship off balance or bog the ship down with water, making it impossible for the ship to stay afloat. In some cases, the ship can capsize.
  • On a related point, too often, human carelessness or neglect contribute to a sinking. A ship’s equipment could be poorly or irregularly maintained. The crew itself could be understaffed or poorly trained. Also, as with any other type of transportation, crewmembers who are tired, distracted or under the influence are prone to making mistakes.
  • Pulling in and out of port is a common cause of a ship’s sinking. Even if it looks easy, it is always a difficult and risky task, particularly in some harbors.

 A boat’s management has an obligation to keep the ship afloat

What might strike people is that, especially in the modern era, the careful work of a boat’s management can prevent a ship from sinking.

They have the ability to monitor the conditions of both the weather and the ocean, and they have a responsibility to make sure the ship is seaworthy and the crew properly supported and well trained.

As many of those who work in the Alaska shipping industry know, the law makes boat owners and managers liable to their workers for injuries and wrongful death. A family of a victim who lost their life when a ship sank should understand their legal options.