top of page

Stevedore injured - inspite of the risk being obvious. Who's to blame?

Every now and then there are unfortunate incidents where stevedores get injured after falling from unfenced decks / openings bridges on ships. But if the risk of falling was so open and obvious then is the owner at fault or the stevedore who took that risk knowingly? US Appeals Court for 11th Circuit had to decide this in The Seaboard Atlantic [2020].

A US longshoreman (stevedore) suffered injuries after falling 6-8 ft from the lashing walkway. He was experienced and had worked on this vessel over 20 times in the past. There was no rope fence protecting the walkway that day. The longshoreman decided to start lashing the containers without instructions and tripped on the loose lashing material & fell onto the deck. He claimed under LHWCA and alleged that the vessel was not kept in a safe condition.

LHWCA obliges an owners to take reasonable care in making a vsl safe and to intervene, i.e. to warn stevedores of hidden dangers. Owners argued that injurious hazard was present but could have been avoided by a reasonably competent stevedore. The court held for owners. They have a rightful expectation that stevedores will be able to cope with defects of which they are aware & avoid them if necessary. Under LHWCA owners are not obliged to present an absolute safe ship.

2 views0 comments


Recent posts

bottom of page