Who Is Responsible When Accidents On A Ship Causes A Death?

by Terry Bryant

Onboard a ship, death is not a frequent occurrence, but unfortunately tragic accidents do happen. Fatalities are often due to negligence, and the negligent parties must be held accountable to ensure that the victim’s family has the closure they deserve. This negligence can come from the vessel owner, the vessel’s manufacturer or even crew members, but no matter what causes a fatal accident, the victim’s family has legal rights.

There are unique hazards at sea that demand additional safety procedures. The surrounding water is chief among them, and vessel builders must do everything possible to guard against people falling into the sea. This means building sturdy guardrails and decks that do not become slippery when contacted with water. Builders must also account for the inherent instability of the vessel, constructing staircases that are easy to navigate and storage areas that can be secured.

When an accident on a ship results in death, it can also result from poorly maintained safety equipment. Vessel owners are required to keep enough safety equipment on hand to mitigate a major accident, such as keeping a bank of lifeboats that can safely evacuate hundreds or thousands of passengers. Failing to do this is an act of negligence and demands accountability.

Given their isolation from the mainland, it is essential that vessel owners and builders take their responsibilities seriously, and ensure that passenger safety is their chief concern.