Connecticut has a strategic, if small, piece of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. It has long been an important port area, ever since the first colonists arrived several hundred years ago. From the historic Mystic Seaport to the large and modern cargo ports, Connecticut is home to several harbors, marinas, and ports for docking recreational vessels, commercial fishing boats, for loading and unloading cargo, and even for housing historic ships as museums.
The three largest ports in the state, at New Haven, Bridgeport, and New London head the state’s maritime industry and provide points of entry and departure for millions of dollars in cargo each year. It is at these ports that the biggest risks are taken every day by maritime workers. With the heavy traffic, both in the water and on shore, heavy equipment like cranes and trucks, and the coordination of hundreds and thousands of workers and jobs, these are dangerous workplaces. If you get injured in a Connecticut maritime job, let a Connecticut maritime lawyer help guide you in taking the next steps.
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The Ports of Connecticut
Connecticut has multiple ports dotting its short, but important coastline. Most are small ports for recreational and fishing ports, while some are historic tourist attractions and museums like the port at Mystic. The three deep water ports in the state that are responsible for cargo and container shipping are the Ports of New Haven, New London, and Bridgeport. These are collectively run by the Connecticut Port Authority. The Port Authority was only created in 2014, but it brings together these three important centers of the maritime industry with the goal of bringing more business to the state.
The Port of New Haven is the state’s largest port. It is also the biggest port in terms of cargo volume on Long Island Sound. It handles around eight million tons of cargo each year, ranking 57th in the country. New Haven comes near the top of the list, though, for importing gasoline. It brings in the fifth largest amount of any port in the country. The origin of the Buckeye Pipeline is here, which sends fuel to Hartford and Springfield Massachusetts. New Haven’s cargo makes up 75 percent of the state’s dry bulk, including salt, stone, sand, cement, and scrap metal.
The Port of Bridgeport is located on Bridgeport Harbor and is prepared to handle a variety of cargo coming in on ships and barges. Cargo moves out from the port mostly by truck. The port has cranes for lifting cargo as well as many forklifts to move it throughout the port and to the waiting trucks. Twenty acres of outdoor storage and over 200,000 square feet of regular and refrigerated indoor storage serve those cargo companies needing short-term storage. Much of the cargo that comes through Bridgeport is produce, forest products, and containers. The Port of London also handles cargo, but is an interesting mix of maritime industry, tourism, recreational boating, and history with shops, restaurants and museums.
The Dangers of Maritime Work
The three deep water harbors of Connecticut are busy and hazardous workplaces. Like any ports, both the waterways leading in and the ports themselves are busy, crowded, and full of machinery and equipment. If you work in the industry here in Connecticut, you face a job that can be harrowing at times, and full of everyday risks. Injuries are not uncommon, and in fact, maritime jobs are among the most dangerous of all kinds of jobs. Workers can even be killed in on-the-job accidents.
Working as a seaman on any of the ships that come into port here is a risky job. Working out at sea in rough waters, in bad weather, and with heavy equipment on board can mean accidents are all too possible. Falls overboard, equipment injuries, and even capsizing or sinking vessels happen and can cause workers to be injured, to become ill, or even to lose their lives while doing their jobs. Of all the jobs for seamen, working on commercial fishing vessels is the most dangerous.
Ships coming into and going out of ports can also present possibilities for accidents. The waterways around ports are crowded and ships must use local pilots to come and go. Even with these skilled workers, accidents can happen. Ships running aground or colliding with each other or with piers are common accidents, which cause all kinds of injuries and sometimes oil spills.
Work in the port is equally hazardous. Longshoremen are responsible for moving cargo, storing it, assisting with getting ships in and out of berths, and coordinating all these complicated movements. Accidents are common with cranes, with cargo, with trucks and forklifts, and sometimes on walkways going to and from ships. Often these accidents are caused by a lack of training, poor judgment, or a miscommunication, all causes that are preventable. Many broken bones, back injuries, cuts, lost limbs, and even deaths could have been prevented with the right precautions.
Connecticut Maritime Lawyers Can Help
If you work in the maritime industry in Connecticut and have been injured, you have rights under the law. Federal maritime law provides avenues for injured workers to seek compensation. This money may be important in covering your daily expenses while you are recovering and can’t go to work. It can also provide for medical bills and related expenses for getting better. If you die on the job, your surviving dependents are entitled to similar compensation through the same federal laws.
Trying to get this money that you are owed is not always simple. There are many ways in which you can make a mistake and jeopardize getting the compensation. If your employer and their insurer are fighting you on compensation, this adds another element of complexity. Fortunately there are lawyers who specialize in this kind of work. A Connecticut maritime lawyer can be your ally and guide in the battle to get the compensation you are owed and that you need to get back to work. Let this expert help you file claims, negotiate, and even start a lawsuit to get your money.