On Monday, March 12th, 2018,  the vessel Natalie Jean capsized in the Mississippi River near New Orleans. Three people were aboard the vessel when it struck a docked ship and began to sink.

Another vessel near the Natalie Jean was able to arrive in time to rescue one person, but unfortunately, the other two remained missing. The incident occurred near mile mark 90.5, near the 4600 block of Patterson Drive in Algiers.

Several agencies became involved in the search efforts including the Coast Guard, with two boats and a helicopter, the New Orleans Harbor Police, Plaquemines Port Authority, St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Offices, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The vessel is owned by Creole Chief Inc. and was built in 1981.

Sadly, negligence resulted in a maritime accident that has led to two men lost. The Houston maritime lawyers of Lapeze & Johns have supported hundreds of families in state and federal courts throughout Texas, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast who have dealt with a maritime accident or fatality. With more than 20 years of experience in maritime law, we’re ready to provide legal care for offshore workers and longshoremen who have been injured – or lost their lives – while on the job.

Below you will find a list of the most common types of maritime accidents that we have helped clients with:

1. Maritime Collisions – A collision between boats or a boat with a fixed object can cause significant damage and injuries. These situations become more dangerous when the boat capsizes or begins to sink because of damage sustained during the collision. These types of accidents can occur because of inexperienced, distracted, or intoxicated operators.
2. Offshore Oil Rig Accidents – Oil rig accidents are often serious because of the nature of the job. Heavy machinery, chemical exposure, slippery walkways, and the potential for explosions all lend themselves to dangerous working conditions for oil industry workers. A small mistake can lead to serious consequences across the rig.
3. Commercial Fishing Accidents –  Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations for a reason; harsh weather conditions, heavy machinery, and hazardous working conditions can all cause accidents that lead to severe injuries or even death. Inexperienced fishermen are at a greater risk of fatal incidents that can include falling overboard or dealing with a traumatic brain injury because of slippery surfaces.
4. Accidents on Tugboats, Cargo Ships, or Oil Tankers – Human error and worker negligence often lead to maritime accidents while on these types of vessels. Cargo tankers, which tend to transport highly flammable materials, are vessels where explosions are a high risk, posing as one of the most serious dangers for maritime workers.
5. Shipyard Accidents –  Shipyards are full of hazardous materials and machinery that can easily lead to accidents. Longshoremen and harbor workers run the risk of being exposed to welding accidents, harmful chemicals, poisonous fumes, grounding of ships, and general mishaps.
6. Accidents Involving Cranes – The use of cranes is essential for maritime workers, whether they are used in shipyards, ports, or on ships. Strong winds, faulty wires, broken winches, or worker negligence can all lead to serious injuries or even deaths.
7. Slips and Falls – Understandably, decks and floors on maritime vessels can become slippery because of the environment, but when coupled with bad work behaviors (e.g. drinking or drugs), accidents like falling overboard can easily result in lifetime impairments, or at worst, death. While it is the responsibility of the managers to ensure safe working conditions, employees must also be responsible for their own actions.

If you or a loved one has been injured – or suffered a wrongful death – in a maritime accident, you need the commitment of Lapeze & Johns.  

We work tirelessly for our clients to protect their rights to compensation. We handle all employer and insurance adjuster communications so you and your family can focus on recovery.

Contact our office now for a free case evaluation for your Houston, Texas, or Gulf Coast maritime injury case.

About Keith Lapeze

Keith Lapeze co-founded Lapeze & Johns with the focus of delivering dependable legal services to individuals hurt in accidents caused by negligence. After graduating third in his class from Louisiana State University Law Center, Mr. Lapeze continued his calling through commercial, environmental, and tort litigation where he is admitted to practice in both Texas and Louisiana, the United States Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Read more about Keith Lapeze here.