Container lashing—the process of securing containers together on ships—is one of the most hazardous activities of maritime cargo handling. If done properly, lashing prevents containers from shifting during the voyage, even through rough seas or high winds. If the cargo is poorly lashed, containers may fall overboard, cause ships to lose stability, or cause serious and fatal maritime accidents.
Causes and Compensation for a Maritime Lashing Injury
Many types of maritime workers could be involved in lashing and de-lashing operations, including stevedores, longshoremen, and deck crews. Seamen who are injured by unsecured cargo at sea will likely seek payment for maintenance and cure under the Jones Act, while stevedores may file claims under The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
In addition, injured workers may be able to file a negligence lawsuit if the accident involved:
- Wrong technique. There are a variety of lashing methods and materials used to secure cargo, and using the wrong one can result in grave injuries. A proper lashing will hold not just in port, but is strong enough to overcome the transverse forces of a ship rolling from side to side. A worker who uses the wrong knots, stretches lashing materials around sharp edges, or performs fewer than the standard number of lashings could be placing the whole ship at risk.
- Worn or improper equipment. All fixed and loose lashing equipment should be in usable condition, including ropes, wires, webbing, bands, straps, chains, and other tensioning devices. In addition to lashings, all connections and hardware (such as lashing rods, turnbuckles, and twist-locks) should be rust-free and working properly.
- Inadequate weight distribution. Not only must containers be properly tied down, but they must also be placed with the consideration of the effects of their weight. Top-heavy stacking should be avoided, and dunnage should be used to fill the voids and broken stowage between items of cargo.
Contact Our Maritime Injury Attorneys Today
If you or someone you love has been hurt at sea, you should contact the qualified maritime injury attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer as soon as possible to learn your legal rights. Call 1-800-3-MAY-DAY today or download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.