Many cargo ships and barges transport volatile and combustible chemicals, including oil and liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Even ships that do not carry these types of chemicals have fuel and other flammable materials on board, as well as equipment that may explode. When these materials ignite at sea or at dock, it can set off an explosion that can severely injure crew members on the ship. Those crew members may be able to recover for their injuries under federal law.

Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California Maritime Explosion Lawyers

A lawyer from Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP can represent you in seeking compensation for damages you’ve suffered as a result of the ignition of chemicals while at work, or if you’ve lost a loved one due to a maritime explosion. The injuries from an explosion can be substantial, and you could lose your ability to work.

At Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP, our attorneys are licensed and experienced in the federal and state courts of Washington, California, Alaska, and Oregon. Contact us at 1 (800) 262-8529 to schedule a free consultation.

Info on Explosion Injuries at Sea

Back to top

Causes of Maritime Explosions

A common cause of explosions at sea is combustible cargo. Barges that carry chemicals, pressurized gas, fertilizer, and explosives like TNT and C-4 are especially vulnerable. While these materials are supposed to be tightly contained, any accident that exposes them to flame, including a collision with another ship or the harbor, may have an instantaneous, deadly result. Many of these materials are also highly volatile, and a failure to maintain them at a certain temperature or limit their exposure to other elements can lead to explosion.

Malfunctioning equipment or mistakes made maintaining equipment may also lead to explosions. Some causes of explosions on vessels include:

  • Oil mist from a crankcase
  • Release of oxygen and other gasses
  • Improper tank cleaning
  • Hydrogen buildup in buoys

Back to top

Injuries Due to Combustion

An explosion can have tragic consequences, including injuring anyone in the vicinity.

A large enough explosion can cause a shockwave that has damaging consequences for the surrounding crew and equipment. The force of ignition can upheave heavy objects or cause a collapse on the ship.

When an explosion happens, fire typically follows. Crew members may have severe burns and suffer injury from smoke inhalation.

When the ship is on fire, the only place to go may be into the water, whether willingly or as a consequence of the explosion. In the icy waters of the Pacific, crew members forced into the water for safety or by an explosion may drown or experience hypothermia.

Back to top

Liability for Injuries from an Explosion

Seamen have the right to seek relief in federal courts because of legislation known as the Jones Act. The Jones Act allows crew members to seek relief for medical bills, lost wages, and lost ability to work if they were injured due to an explosion resulting from negligence on the ship.

Negligence can cause an explosion when the vessel operator did not have sufficient procedures in place to guard against the events that caused the explosion. In other cases, the vessel operator may not have maintained safety manuals or operating manuals detailing those procedures.

Furthermore, if a vessel owner does not have sufficient crew to implement the procedures meant to prevent explosions, or the crew members are not trained on how to handle the volatile chemicals, the vessel may be considered unseaworthy.

Back to top

BOATLAW, LLP | Washington, Alaska, California, and Oregon Attorneys for Victims of an Explosion Aboard a Vessel

If you are a crew member in the Pacific Northwest who was hurt in an explosion while on a vessel, or your loved one was killed due to an explosion, contact a skilled maritime lawyer at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, LLP. We will fight for the recovery you deserve. Call us at 1-800-262-8529 to schedule a free no obligations consultation.