The Port of Boston supports thousands of jobs and is a huge part of the local and New England regional economies. Because this is such a big and important port, Boston has seen several tragic accidents over the years. If you work in the Port of Boston, know that a Boston maritime lawyer can help you if you get hurt or lose a loved one to the job.
The Port of Boston
Boston not only has the largest port in the state of Massachusetts and one of the most important ports in the region, but it is also home to the oldest constantly-operating port in the entire Western Hemisphere.
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The Port of Boston is nearly 400 years old. It serves as the maritime hub for all of New England, and plays a massive role in the local, state, and regional economies. Just one terminal here brings in 90 percent of all the fossil fuels used in the state.
The Port of Boston and related services employ over 50,000 people. The port’s economic impact extends to more than $4.6 billion annually. The major industries served in the Port of Boston include:
- Cargo and container shipping
- The cruise ship industry for tourism and recreation
- Commercial fishing
The Conley Terminal at the port is a container terminal that sees ships come in and out from seven of the world’s top ten container shipping lines. Every year the terminal handles about 1.5 million metric tons of cargo.
The Boston Autoport handles imports and exports of cars and other vehicles. The Autoport can accommodate up to 70,000 automobiles each year.
Cruiseport Boston manages the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, which serves several major cruise lines and sends passengers to the Caribbean, the Canadian Atlantic Coast, and Europe.
In addition to the terminals for cargo, automobiles, and cruise ships, the Port of Boston includes an additional 500 acres of property in South Boston, East Boston, and Charlestown.
These properties include spaces for commercial fishing, office buildings, hotels, shipbuilding, ship repair, and additional berths for cargo.
The Dangers of Maritime Work in Boston
Maritime work is always dangerous, but if you work in a major port like that in Boston, you face even more daily risks:
- Collisions between ships
- Cargo cranes dropping heavy loads or even tipping over
- Electrical accidents
- Trips and slips
- Falls into the water or cargo holds
Commercial fishing is a major industry in Boston and is known as one of the most dangerous of all industries, maritime or not.
Commercial fishery workers face accidents with processing equipment, onboard accidents from bad weather and cold water, and long, grueling, and physically-demanding work hours.
Boston Maritime Accidents
A port like the Port of Boston is busy, full of heavy equipment, and includes many moving parts and moving people trying to communicate with each other.
Accidents are all too common, both in the port and on the ships as they come in and leave the port. Some of these accidents cause injuries; unfortunately, some even lead to fatalities.
Port Worker Fatality
One such fatal accident occurred in Boston in 2009. The accident happened in the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. Exactly what happened was never discovered, but the body of a killed worker was found under a concrete barrier in one of the terminal’s warehouses.
Port warehouses store equipment, cargo, construction materials, and other items. Accidents can happen here all too easily if workers are not following safety procedures, not communicating well with each other, or if items have not been stored correctly. In this case, a heavy concrete barrier somehow fell on and crushed the worker to death.
The Port of Boston is home to recreational boating activities, shipping, and other industries. Workers in recreational boating also face dangers, as do their passengers, as evidenced by a whale-watching accident in 2010.
In this case, everyone was lucky that no injuries were sustained, but it could have been worse. The whale-watching boat, with over 150 tourists and workers on board, ran aground at a rocky shoal. The area was signposted and well-known as a shallow water area. Someone on the crew made a mistake or a poor decision that should have been avoided.
Ferries are also a part of the activity at the Port of Boston. Ferry accidents can be especially tragic because so many people are on board these ships, from tourists to locals trying to get to work.
In 2014 a ferry traveling from Provincetown to the Port of Boston was hit by a large wave, which temporarily disabled its engine. Forty-two passengers and crew members were stranded with water pouring onto the boat.
Luckily the U.S. Coast Guard was quickly notified and arrived soon after the accident to make the rescue. Just one injury was recorded. The ferry’s captain suffered cuts after the large wave broke the glass in the pilot house windshield.
Legal Resources for Injured Maritime Workers
If you work in the Port of Boston or on any cargo, fishing, cruise, or recreational boats that use the port, you are vulnerable to accidents that could leave you hurt, sick, or even dead. Luckily as a maritime worker, you have certain rights.
You can use laws like the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to ensure you get the compensation you deserve after an accident. And if you die on the job, your loved ones also have these rights.
Workers hurt in accidents like these examples, and others have legal recourse for compensation depending on the circumstances. A seaman aboard a ship can get compensation through the Jones Act if the employer can be shown to have been negligent in the accident that caused an injury or illness.
A federal workers’ compensation program is available for port workers to ensure money is available after an accident. The same rights apply to surviving dependent loved ones for workers who die on the job.
Let a Boston maritime lawyer help you if you get injured. Filing claims and dealing with bosses or insurance companies who want to deny you compensation can be complicated.
A legal professional experienced in getting claims settled can help you file your claim, make your case, and get the money you deserve and that you need to get your life back together.