Greek Passenger Ferry Runs Aground in Rafina

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Early this week, on Monday, July 30, Flying Cat 4 — a Greek passenger ferry carrying 215 passengers — crashed into Rafina port.  The port of Rafina is located just 16 miles east of Athens, and is a well-trafficked ferry terminal for passengers sailing into the Cyclades Islands (consisting of Tinos, Naxos, Ios, Sikinos, Kos, Folegandros, and many other popular tourist destinations in the Aegean sea).  According to reports, Flying Cat 4 was attempting to dock at Rafina when a mechanical failure caused the vessel to hit the breakwater and sustain damage.

We are pleased to hear that no passengers aboard Flying Cat 4 were injured in the grounding incident at-issue, and that Greek Coast Guard authorities quickly and safely evacuated all passengers to other vessels.  Maritime authorities are currently investigating the accident further to determine its potential causes.

Though this passenger ferry grounding incident is one in which the damages are minor and passengers escaped injury — similar incidents (where the ship hits the breakwater and grounds into the port) do frequently give rise to substantial injuries.  In fact, grounding accidents are extremely common in the passenger ship context, accounting for nearly one-third of all total accidents.  If a passenger had been injured in the present case, then they would have likely been entitled to bring a civil action against the operator to recover damages for their various losses.

Vessels Must Be Properly Inspected and Repaired to Minimize the Risk of Mechanical Failure

Early reports are currently incomplete, but it appears that Flying Cat 4 experienced a mechanical failure that substantially contributed to the ground accident at-issue.  Whether the vessel is a cruise ship, passenger ferry, small tour boat, or even a cargo ship, it must be regularly and adequately inspected to ensure that potential hazards (mechanical and otherwise) are identified early and repaired by trained crew members.  Though it the nature of the particular mechanical failure (that contributed to the grounding accident in the present case) is not clear at the moment, had the crew identified and corrected the issue, then the accident likely would not have occurred.

Even if there is a mechanical failure, however, crew members must be properly trained to react to the situation and take measures that minimize the risk of injury.  Emergency systems must be engaged in a timely manner, authorities must be contacted to provide guidance (and passenger evacuations, if necessary), and crew members should ensure that passengers are informed of escape routes and are equipped with the necessary safety devices.  Though the present case did not give rise to significant injuries, there are many grounding accidents that lead to severe injuries (and even death) — a swift, effective crew response can minimize injuries and save lives.

We Can Help

If you have suffered injuries in a ship grounding accident, then you may have a right of action against the vessel operator (and others) for damages that compensate you for your losses.  The favorable resolution of such claims can be a complicated process, however, so it’s important to get in touch with a qualified attorney who is capable of effectively navigating the turbulent waters of maritime accident litigation.

Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience representing injured passengers, crewmembers, and their families in maritime and admiralty claims brought against cruise ship and ferry operators, as well as other potentially liable parties, such as emergency response authorities.  We are a results-oriented firm, and believe that our case results are demonstrative of our ability to provide effective legal representation against maritime defendants — we boast a consistent track record of success in securing favorable settlements and verdicts for our injured clients.

Oftentimes, those who are injured have concerns about their right to recover under international law.  In the present case, the grounding accident occurred in Greek waters.  No matter where the incident occurs, however, you are most likely entitled to damages for injuries that were caused by the defendant’s negligence.  Though our offices are located in Florida, the attorneys here at Lipcon have extensive experience litigating claims in courtrooms worldwide.

Interested in learning more about how to proceed with your claims?  Contact us today to speak with one of our maritime lawyers for further guidance.