If you work in the maritime industry long enough, you are sure to have heard the many horror stories about workers being killed or seriously injured due to mooring line injuries caused by the sudden breaking and “snap back” of a vessel’s mooring cable.
Mooring lines are the thick cables used to keep a vessel tethered to a dock or terminal while its cargo is being loaded and unloaded, or while passengers are boarding or departing. It may not seem like it, but mooring a vessel is a potentially dangerous job. When proper safety protocols are not followed, too much strain can be placed on the mooring lines, causing them to break suddenly with violent force.
The sudden release of energy causes the two ends of the line to wildly recoil or “snap back” with high speed and force. When a mooring line breaks, anyone within the snap back zone – the areas of the ship within reach of a snapped mooring line – is in peril of being struck by the flailing pieces of line.
Causes of Mooring Line Injuries
There are a number of factors that can lead to mooring snap back accidents:
- Damaged or old mooring lines
- Faulty or damaged winches, hydraulic motors, bollards, or anchor chains
- Untrained or insufficient crew for the task
- Rough seas
- Mooring lines not secured properly
- Snap back zone not properly marked
- Rope bight
- Lack of non-slip deck
- Tripping or falling over mooring lines
- Getting caught or tangled up in mooring lines
It is the responsibility of ship owners/operators to ensure the appropriate type of mooring lines are used for the job and that the mooring equipment is properly positioned and secured to minimize danger. They should also identify and clearly mark a vessel’s potential snap back zones and confirm that the crew is aware of the location of these snap back zones to prevent mooring line accidents.
Injuries Caused by a Mooring Line Accident
The injuries resulting from being struck by a snapped mooring line can be devastating. Types of mooring line snap back injuries can include:
- Bone fractures
- Crushed limbs
- Head, neck and brain injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Muscle injuries
There have been many instances in which a worker was killed after being struck by a snapped mooring line.
Protect Your Rights after a Mooring Line Accident
If you have been injured in a mooring line snap back accident or have had a loved one killed by a snapping mooring line, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages caused by the accident under the Jones Act or the Death on the High Seas Act.
The New Orleans maritime injury attorneys at The Lambert Firm are ready to put our experience and vast legal knowledge to work for you. We have been successfully representing maritime workers injured in a wide variety of maritime accidents and their families for over 40 years. Our clients know they can depend on us to obtain the compensation they deserve for the injuries caused by the negligence of a vessel’s owners or crew.
Call The Lambert Firm at 800-521-1750 to schedule a free consultation with one of our leading maritime accident attorneys to discuss your legal options. We are headquartered in Louisiana, but represent clients all over the United States.