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Legal Blog

Accidents in the Port of Houston

The Port of Houston is a major economic center for the Gulf of Mexico and the country, and it is only getting busier. In 2017, the port saw 38.3 million tons of cargo – the highest total tonnage in port history. The previous record was 37.8 million tons in 2014.

Last year was record-breaking in regard to container business. The port handled 2.46 Million TEU in 2017, which was close to a 13 percent increase from the year before. The port also finished a number of essential construction projects. With all of the activity and growth at the port, officials must remain vigilant regarding health and safety best practices. Maritime accidents at the Port of Houston could lead to serious injuries and fatalities.

If you were injured in an accident at the port, your next step needs to be calling a Houston maritime lawyer at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. An attorney will protect and guide you through the process of obtaining the benefits and compensation you are entitled to under the law.

Contact us at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.

Port of Houston Accidents

One of the most common maritime accidents in the Port of Houston are collisions. Vessels moving through ports have to keep safe distances from other ships, structures, and shallow waters. Failing to do so, or not receiving the proper instruction from port officials, can lead to collisions between vessels or between vessels and structures.

A well-known collision occurred in October 2010 when a barge struck an electrical tower in the Houston Ship Channel. The tower broke from its base and fell onto the barge, requiring the channel to close. It took one of the largest cranes in the country to lift and stabilize the tower so it could be dismantled and replaced. After a 3-day closure, there was a backup of 45 inbound and 19 outbound vessels.

Traffic issues at the port may also lead to vessels being grounded. The impact of a ship on the seabed or the side of a waterway can be significant. Crewmembers could be hurt due to the impact or thrown from the ship. Grounding also puts stress on the vessel, which could lead to damage, breaches, and spills.

Additionally, accidents can occur at port during loading and unloading. Vessels move significant amounts of cargo each day, which has to be loaded and unloaded by crews. Dozens of crew members utilize various equipment and machinery, including cranes, to load or unload containers or other cargo. This is a difficult job, and if anything goes wrong, crew members’ lives are in danger. Falling loads are a typical problem and can lead to crush injuries, amputations, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, and fatalities.

Cranes are essential to port operations and are frequently involved in accidents. In April 2017, a crane accident at the Port of Houston killed a truck driver. The trucker was outside of his vehicle when he was struck by a crane at the Barbours Cut terminal. The accident involved a gantry crane, which is a four-legged crane that straddles shipping containers. It was not in the water, and it was not utilized to move containers on or off vessels.

Mooring line accidents are also possible at port. Mooring lines keep vessels tethered to terminals and docks. If these lines are not used properly, they can cause serious accidents. Mooring lines that are too loose or come unattached can let vessels drift and lead to collisions. In addition, lines secured too tightly may snap, and a crewmember on the receiving end of a snapped line can suffer catastrophic injuries or death.

Were You Injured at the Port of Houston? Call The Krist Law Firm, P.C.

If you were hurt while working at the Port of Houston, contact our experienced maritime attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. right away. We have years of experience handling maritime accidents and are well aware of the unique regulations that dictate the benefits you are entitled to have after an accident. We will fight for you to receive all of the compensation you are entitled to under the law to ensure you can get through this situation without depleting your savings or taking on debt.

To discuss your rights after a maritime accident, use our online form or contact us at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free consultation.