For those workers who are injured in the state while doing a maritime job, Hawaii maritime lawyers are available to help take legal action. Longshore work and the jobs of seamen are dangerous, and injuries are all too common. Maritime laws ensure injured workers have a way to seek compensation for related expenses.
There are many ports in Hawaii. The largest is in Honolulu Harbor and is called Port Hawai’i. Situated on the most populous island of Oahu, Honolulu Harbor is crucial to the people of the state. Being on remote islands means residents rely on shipping for many of their daily goods.
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Honolulu is the hub for cargo coming in and exports going out and is a major part of the state’s overall economy. The Harbor is a natural one but is also maintained to be adequate for shipping.
Major commodities handled here include petroleum products, lumber, and break bulk. In addition to containers and cargo, the Harbor includes space for commercial fishing vessels, passenger ships, cruise ships, and research vessels.
The second busiest port in Hawaii is also its newest. Construction on Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor only finished in 1990, just 19 nautical miles from Hsignificantlu Harbor. In addition to handling cargo and containers, this port has facilities for shipbuilding and repairs.
Also close to Honolulu is Kewalo Basin, a man-made harbor constructed to relieve congestion at the busy Honolulu Harbor. It essentially provides passenger, recreational, fishing, and research vessel space.
As with any maritime location, Hawaii has seen its share of accidents on ships, in the water, and ports and harbors. The maritime industry is a dangerous one. In ports, space is limited and full of moving workers, equipment, trucks, and cargo-loading cranes.
Already a natural environment for hazards, ports are often vulnerable to accidents caused by poor judgment, lack of training, and miscommunication.
Just one small error in a port, on a ship, or in the crowded waters of a harbor can lead to a serious accident that causes monetary damage, injuries, and even fatalities.
One example of an accident in Hawaii that could have been prevented was the sinking of a tow boat in 2015. The vessel, called Nalani, took on water and sank during trials near Oahu. All eleven people on the boat could be rescued, and no one was lost or injured.
The fault was found to be with the captain, who made an error of judgment. He made a poor choice to get the boat underway before integrity could be established. The boat sank in 2,200 feet of water and could not be recovered. It was a total loss.
It isn’t just ship accidents that can happen in the local maritime industry. Port accidents are likely to occur as well. In a crowded and busy port like Honolulu Harbor, accidents can happen when workers make the wrong decisions or don’t communicate properly. Common accidents include:
- Falling or collapsing cranes
- Dropped cargo
- Truck and forklift accidents
- Falling into the water from docks or walkways
- Toxic cargo chemical exposure
While many accidents, fortunately, cause no injuries, many can be devastating. Workers face broken bones, cuts and scrapes, head injuries, lost limbs, illness from chemical exposure, burns, and even death in the face of workplace maritime accidents.
Legal Rights for Maritime Workers
If you live in Hawaii and work in the maritime industry, you have an exciting and lucrative job. You get to work in this beautiful state’s warm and sunny climate and enjoy working near the ocean.
On the other hand, you work in a job full of hazards. Any little mistake on the job, from you or anyone else, could lead to a debilitating injury or death. Coming back from an injury can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.
Fortunately, there are resources and legal rights for injured maritime workers. Federal maritime law gives you an avenue for claiming the compensation you need to get back on your feet and back on the job.
A Hawaii maritime lawyer is your best resource if you are injured on the job. Lawyers specializing in maritime law have the experience and knowledge to help you decide which laws apply to you and how to file a claim.
They can represent you if you have to face off against your employer during arbitration or a court trial. A maritime lawyer can be your best secret weapon in getting the money you need and deserve after a workplace accident.