The Port of San Francisco is one of eleven ports in the state of California and is probably best known for its historic landmarks and tourist spots. The port includes cargo shipping, but this is not its main draw. It is a versatile port with berths for cargo ships and commercial fishing vessels. It is the starting and ending point for cruises and ferries. The port also has recreational fishing, recreational boating, and many dockside restaurants and shops.
The Port of San Francisco is a unique port, but like all other ports it is a busy workplace. Maritime workers who have jobs on the vessels coming in and out of the port or in the port itself do crucial work that keeps cargo moving in and out, gets people onto ferries and where the need to go, and keeps ships in top condition. The jobs are dangerous too and if you work in the industry you already know that. Accidents in ports and on ships are not uncommon and they often lead to injuries and even the deaths of workers. San Francisco maritime lawyers are standing by to help people like you figure out what to do after a workplace accident.
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The Port of San Francisco
The nearby Port of Oakland is the powerhouse container and cargo port for the Bay area, but the Port of San Francisco has a piece of the industry too. There are five deep-water berths in the cargo terminal and the port also offers shipping lines easy access to barge and tug boat services, warehouses and cold storage, and even ship repair.
The port is also home to many commercial shipping vessels, cruise ships, ferries and recreational boats. From the port you can take a ferry to Alcatraz, the famous prison, or head across the Bay to inland cities. The port stretches from the Golden Gate Bridge to Candlestick Point Recreation Area, eight miles of coast that includes tourist destination Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero, a location on the National Register of Historic Places and home of the Ferry Market.
San Francisco’s Maritime Accidents
The Port of San Francisco and the waters nearby in the ocean and the San Francisco Bay are dangerous places to work. Numerous accidents have occurred, some on ships in the water and others in the port. While some accidents are minor and cause no serious problems, others have led to big financial disasters, environmental problems, and injuries and deaths of workers. Maritime accidents are almost always caused by some factor that could have been prevented.
One such accident that turned out to be both a financial and environmental disaster occurred in 2007 when an oil tanker struck a tower on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Fortunately no one was hurt in the disaster, but thousands of gallons of oil spilled into the bay and caused untold harm to wildlife. Investigations found that the pilot guiding the ship through the bay was taking prescription drugs that impaired his ability to pilot the ship well and that he had not notified anyone that he was on the medication.
A similar, but less disastrous, accident occurred when a container ship leaving the Port of San Francisco heading for Seattle lost some of its cargo overboard. All of the containers floated in the bay and one even washed up on shore. The reason for the containers falling into the water was found to be a combination of bad weather and poor securing measures. The crew took the right steps in warning other vessels that there were containers in the water. No one was hurt and no ships were damaged by the floating containers.
Commercial fishing is a big industry for the San Francisco area and a tragic accident occurred in 2006 when the fishing boat Relentless left the port for Half Moon Bay and never came back. Some pieces of the boat were later found and investigators know that the crew had filled the boat with fish from the Bay and then started to return to the port when they disappeared without any distress call. Official investigations couldn’t find an answer to the mystery of what happened, but loved ones of the men board believe that the fishing vessel was the victim of a hit and run by a tanker. In the busy shipping channel, such collisions have occurred before, but proof is hard to come by.
Sometimes the accidents that lead to deaths in maritime work are not as catastrophic as collisions and sinking, which demonstrates just how dangerous every aspect of these jobs are. For instance in 2015 a commercial fisherman died when he fell from a pier getting into his fishing boat. He hit his head on the edge of the pier in his fall, and likely was knocked unconscious. His body was found later under the pier.
If you work in the maritime industry in San Francisco, a maritime lawyer is a great resource after an accident. On-the-job injuries can lead to costly medical bills and possibly not being able to earn a wage for a while during your recovery. If this happens to you, there are laws that are in place to ensure that you can get compensation to cover these costs. Maritime laws cover all kinds of maritime workers, but knowing which law targets you and how to get compensation through that law can be confusing. This is where a San Francisco maritime lawyer comes in handy.
A good lawyer is also helpful for situations in which you face an uphill battle against your employer or their insurance company to get the money you are owed according to the law. A lawyer with experience in such cases can represent you in front of your employer’s lawyers and ensure you get everything you are owed. Your case may even go so far as to require arbitration or even go to trial to come to a conclusion. Without a good lawyer, you could get lost in this process. Find a lawyer with the maritime experience you need to get the job done and get you compensation