The 70-mile-long Calcasieu River stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the major petrochemical hub, Port of Lake Charles, Louisiana. People fish on the river, and the river it is an important part of commerce in the state. But, as one recent fishing boat accident shows, the river is not without its dangers.
On Louisiana’s Calcasieu River, a man in a fishing skiff struck an underwater dredge pipeline. The force of the collision threw the man out of the fishing boat. Another person on the boat was injured, but he stayed in the watercraft.
According to an area fishing guide, these pipelines are not sufficiently lit, making them a hazard for boaters who may be on the water at nighttime. He reportedly knew of a similar incident that took place around five years ago, but no one was injured. The Corps of Engineers reports that the river’s middle reach needs to be dredged every two years. The incident is under the investigation of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Maritime workers who are injured on the job generally do not qualify for state workers’ compensation benefits, nor in general can they pursue a personal injury claim against their employer or wrongful death claim against their employer. Instead, maritime workers injured on the job can find relieve through federal law, specifically the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation act and other maritime laws. However, determining when admiralty and maritime law applies to a certain situation can be complex.