As the largest nation in Central America, Nicaragua experiences heavy traffic year-round, especially traffic on its waterways. Bluefields is Nicaragua’s chief port, from which the nation’s main goods are transported, including seafood and hardwood. However, Nicaragua is home to several other marine ports and has seen a fair share of maritime accidents and crimes.
When the United Nations’ highest court extended Nicaragua’s territorial waters from the standard 12 miles to 25 miles, several incidents ensued. Many foreign flagged vessels were seized and numerous crew members were arrested. As a result, United States authorities have issued warnings for U.S. vessels to avoid entering Nicaraguan waters. Nicaraguan waters are also notoriously popular drug smuggling routes, which can pose a risk for both commercial and passenger vessels sailing in Nicaraguan territorial seas.
Given the safety risk that navigating in Nicaraguan waters poses to both native and foreign travelers and seafarers, crimes and accidents on the high seas are not uncommon. Unfortunately, maritime law cases pertaining to accidents and injures acquired in Central American nations like Nicaragua can be very complex. While there are many laws that protect injured crew members, cruise passengers, and boaters from incidents that occur in the United States, those who have been hurt in foreign waters should seek help from an experienced maritime attorney.
Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. understands the intricacies that often surround maritime accident cases in Nicaragua and will help protect your rights, whether you suffered an injury while in the service of a commercial vessel or aboard a recreational water craft.
How the Jones Act Can Protect Nicaraguan Seamen
Many maritime accidents are the result of a ship owner’s failure to provide a safe working environment for their crew. However, accidents don’t always occur on navigable waters. Many times, crew members suffer injuries on land, and victims may be entitled to protections under the Jones Act.
The Jones Act is a federal law that protects seamen who are injured while in the course of their employment, whether they were injured at sea or on land. Under the Jones Act, victims may be able to obtain damages for medical expenses, lost wages, disability, pain and suffering, and other matters. Although it is a U.S. law and protects U.S. seafarers, not many are aware of the fact that the legislation can also protect foreign seafarers whose employers are based in the United States.
If you are a Nicaraguan native working aboard a ship or for a maritime company whose operations are based in the U.S., a maritime lawyer can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your case and determine if you eligible to file a claim under the Jones Act.
Seeking Legal Counsel for Your Maritime Claim
Our attorneys offer legal services to crew members, cruise passengers, and recreational vessel accident victims in Bluefields, León, and Managua. We also assist Nicaraguan natives who were injured while in the service of a maritime company based in the United States. Contact Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. today for a free consultation to determine your rights and case options.