The Maryland maritime industry is dominated by the large Port of Baltimore, but there are several other smaller ports used mainly for fishing and recreational and charter boating. Maritime jobs are risky in ports of all sizes. If you get hurt on the job in a port or on a ship, let a Maryland maritime lawyer help you fight for the compensation you need and deserve.
Although Maryland’s coast is long, it is mostly dotted with small towns and ports. The exception is the Port of Baltimore, located on the Patapsco River.
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The port area is not only a major tourist draw, with restaurants, shops, and the world-famous National Aquarium; it is also a central hub for the regional industry. The Port of Baltimore imports and exports cargo and has berthing space for cruise ships.
The Port includes five public terminals for cargo and container ships, 12 private terminals, an intermodal container transfer facility, and cruise ships that depart regularly for the Caribbean, New England, and Canada’s Atlantic coast.
Several different cruise lines operate from the Port of Baltimore. Cargo, however, is the primary industry here. The most significant exports from the Port include waste paper, automobiles, and coal.
Chief imports include cars, petroleum products, sugar, minerals, fertilizer, salt, and construction and farm machinery. With everything taken together, the Port is responsible for more than 100,000 jobs and over $3 billion in salaries and wages.
Maryland also has several smaller ports up and down its lengthy coast. Baltimore is the only Port to handle cargo and containers; the smaller ports are dedicated to fishing and recreation. These include:
- Port Annapolis
- Solomons Island Harbor
- Port of Cambridge
- Somers Cove Marina
- City Yacht Basin
- The Naval Air Station at the Patuxent River
Maryland’s Maritime Accidents
Only the Port of New York and New Jersey is bigger or busier than the Port of Baltimore on the east coast. With such a productive and large port, not to mention the often rough waters off the state’s coast and in the Chesapeake Bay, it’s no wonder Maryland has seen its fair share of maritime accidents.
In 2013 an assist tug left its berth in Baltimore to help tow a barge into Port, only to run aground and sink. The sinking happened because the tugboat ran into a collapsed pier, which, although underwater, was known to be present.
The fault in the accident was found to lie with the boat’s mate, who used poor judgment in going so close to the collapsed pier.
Luckily for everyone on board, the tugboat had not gone too far out yet, and it could return to the dock before it sank. No one was hurt in the incident, but the boat was damaged and leaked thousands of gallons of fuel into the water.
In many more examples of accidents, some people get injured or even killed, which is especially tragic considering that most accidents were preventable. For instance, one person on the dock in Baltimore was injured when a tanker, 477 feet long and 24 people aboard, collided with the CSX Pier in the Port.
The tanker was turning into its berth when the collision caused one injury and millions of dollars in damage to the pier and the tanker. The error was found to lie with the pilot operating the tanker, who approached the turn with too much speed.
A frightening accident, which could have been much more serious, occurred in the Port of Baltimore. The accident was triggered by a miscommunication between seamen on a moored ship and longshore workers on the dock.
They were engaging in a tricky maneuver to unmoor the ship, which involved ropes from the ship being attached to pickup trucks on the dock.
Someone on board the vessel misunderstood and thought all trucks had disconnected, so they began reeling in the ropes. One truck was still connected and got dragged into the water with the driver inside.
Luckily this worker was able to act quickly and jumped out of the car before it hit the water. He suffered a minor injury to one leg.
Rights and Legal Resources for Maritime Workers
It is clear that the maritime industry, especially in large and busy ports and waterways, can be dangerous. Many accidents are possible, from running aground and sinking to being pulled into the water from a pier.
Not everyone emerges unscathed from these accidents. Too often, workers get hurt and sometimes even killed in tragic maritime incidents. What makes them all the more terrible is that good training, expert judgment, clear communications, and other factors should have prevented most accidents.
When something goes wrong and a worker is hurt, they have rights. Those rights include the right to receive monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, future earnings, pain and suffering, and other costs. Surviving dependents also have these rights when they lose a loved one to a maritime job.
Unfortunately, figuring out how to access these rights isn’t always easy. If you work in this industry and the state of Maryland, there are resources for you. Maryland maritime lawyers are your best resource for filing claims, starting lawsuits, and ensuring you get the compensation you owe.
With the guidance of this legal professional, you or your surviving loved ones can be sure that you are taking all the proper steps. You can be confident that you aren’t making the mistakes that will cost you money.
Working with a Maryland maritime lawyer is the smartest move you can make after a workplace accident that leaves you sick or injured.