Maritime accident lawyers are sometimes needed because of an accident or injury onboard a vessel. However, there are times in which disastrous accidents take place that can have such a powerful impact, that legal assistance can be taken against the vessel’s operators.
It is unknown whether anyone will take legal action against the company who was responsible for a barge that was involved in a serious accident, but the repercussions of this incident are of a much larger degree.
The barge, which had been carrying 80,000 gallons of oil, crashed into a railroad bridge in Vicksburg, Miss., on Sunday, leading crude to spill into the Mississippi River. The Coast Guard explained that the waterway was closed for eight miles in each direction, but due to the accident, a second barge was damaged.
So far, investigators do not know how exactly how much crude has spilled, but according to the Coast Guard, an oily sheen can be seen as far as three miles downriver of Vicksburg. The Coast Guard did not say whether the second barge also hit the bridge or if it crashed into the first barge. Nor have investigators uncovered the cause of the maritime accident.
The incident occurred shortly after 1 a.m. on Sunday and by the evening, the first barge was still leaking. Emergency teams have been working around the clock to contain the oil spill but the full removal of the crude can take days.
Both barges were being pushed by the tugboat Nature’s Way Endeavor. The Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Vicksburg sent an emergency team to assess the spill and oversee the cleanup. Local law enforcement officials also dispatched emergency personnel to the scene to help contain the spill.
It is nearly one year since another oil spill caused the lower Mississippi River to close down, however, this accident only led the river to be closed for less than a day in February. The incident involved an oil barge colliding with a construction barge, leading to the spill of around 10,000 gallons of oil. Back in 2008, another fuel barge collided with a tanker and broke in half, spilling 283,000 gallons of heavy crude into the waterway. The river closed for six days following that accident.
While the crude can pose a risk to the marine life in the area, Coast Guard officials do not anticipate the oil sheen to pose a threat to the Gulf of Mexico, which is located just 344 river miles south of Vicksburg. The Gulf itself was the site of the infamous April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 workers and led more than 200 million gallons of oil to spill into the Gulf.
Whenever accidents of this magnitude occur, it is important for anyone who has sustained any injuries or property damage to consult with an experienced maritime accident lawyer, such as those at our firm, Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. Victims may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering, and procuring legal assistance can mean the difference between obtaining damages and forsaking thousands – or possibly even millions – in benefits such as money damages and medical care.
Our attorneys are available to offer assistance to maritime accident victims right now. Call us today for a free consultation if you or a loved one were involved in an incident at sea or in port and allow us to put our expertise to use in helping you obtain justice for what you have suffered.
Published on January 29, 2013
Categories: Maritime Matter of the Week