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If I get sick while on a vessel am I entitled to compensation?

Yes you are! In 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court decided that any employer not taking care of staff illnesses would be fined and expected to pay sick crewmembers. Additionally no ocean marine programs are allowed to cover these costs; therefore the money would be coming directly out of the employer's pocket.

The case that yielded this verdict in June 2009 was Atlantic Sounding Company v. Townsend, where a crewmember claimed that he was sick and was disregarded by his employer when he asked for reimbursement towards his medical bills. According to maritime law any crew person that is working aboard a vessel is entitled to medical care, and compensation should they be injured or fall ill. Shore-based employees however, are only compensated and cared for should they suffer an injury.

These general maintenance and cure laws of the sea are not new. They have been around for hundreds of years, and have been considered rules of the sea since the times where trading ships would sail for periods consisting anywhere from months to years. The whole point of these laws was to keep the vessels working without allowing anything to get in the way.

If you are a crewmember and have fallen ill, or have been injured, the agent will then file a claim under the vessel's P&I insurance.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a maritime accident, please contact: Hofmann & Schweitzer at 1 (800) 362-9329 (1-800-3-MAY-DAY)

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