Blog

In late May of this year, a groundbreaking ceremony took place to officially kick off the Corpus Christi Ship Channel expansion. Nearly 30 years in the making, the channel’s depth will grow from 45 feet to 54 feet. Dredging vessels will be used to widen and deepen the channel.

As with any expansion project, there are always associated risks and causes for concern. Because of this, maritime workers and dredging workers who will be participating in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel expansion project should be fully aware of the dangers that come with working in this industry, especially as the company contracted to dredge the channel, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock (GLDD), has had a view accidents in the past

Your dredge accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns are here for you when you need us most.

About the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Expansion Project

The celebration of the commencement of the project took place on Wednesday, May 29th, at the Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center. The total cost of the project will be $380 million and the purpose of this plan is to deepen the channel to accommodate larger vessels. The wider and deeper channel – which will be dredged to a depth of 54 feet – is meant to contain larger vessels capable of carrying greater amounts and a wider variety of goods.

In addition to crude oil, the port will also handle the importation and exportation of liquefied natural gas, wind turbine equipment, and military cargo. The project will also prove to be a vital source of employment opportunities, tax revenue, and a general benefit for the city of Corpus Christi.  

The first phase contract was awarded to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, a company that has had few mishaps in the past.

Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Past Accidents

Understandably, there are always risks associated with working within any industry. However, maritime work can be especially hazardous and thus it is important that companies take extreme caution to protect their workers.

Several incidents Great Lakes Dredge and Dock have experienced over the previous decades include:

  • On November 28, 1993, the captain of tugboat Hoosier State was assigned to stand by and assist the dredge, Alaska. The worker was in the wheelhouse when the weather conditions worsened and the boat rolled over in heavy seas. The victim, unfortunately, did not survive.
  • On January 24, 2008, a 669-foot tank ship collided with a smaller dredging ship in Newark Bay, forcing the Coast Guard to close the waterway that leads to some of the largest shipping terminals on the East Coast for about five hours. The 117-foot dredge vessel, New York, owned by GLDD, took on water and started to sink before it was stabilized. GLDD hired a salvage crew, which sent divers to repair the damaged ship.
  • A complaint was filed in June 2018 against the company alleging that he suffered injuries to his lower back while pulling heavy cables and doing mini-wraps. According to the plaintiff, the defendant’s safety professional told the victim that he was not allowed to be truthful about his injury on the incident report.
  • On August 15, 2018, a 30-foot construction barge owned by the company capsized. A Coast Guard Station boat was deployed (Georgetown 29-foot Response Boat) and Coast Guard Air Facility Charleston helicopter crew to assess for pollution threats.

Safety Tips for Dredge Workers

  • Use reflective warning vests
  • Avoid equipment swing areas
  • Make eye contact with operators before approaching equipment
  • Understand and review hand signals
  • Clear walkways of equipment
  • Observe proper lifting techniques
  • Use mechanical lifting equipment to move large loads
  • Wear cut resistant work gloves
  • Maintain all hand and power tools in a safe condition
  • Use hearing protection when exposed to excessive noise levels

If you or a loved one was injured on a dredge vessel, the Houston maritime lawyers of Lapeze and Johns are ready to hear your story. With over 30 years of combined experience, we know exactly what it takes to hold negligent employers liable for the pain they have caused you.

Contact us right now at (713) 766-4855 to schedule your completely FREE legal consultation with one of our experienced and committed Houston dredger accident attorneys.