Top 5 Most Devastating Ferry Boat Accidents

Ferry boats are a common form of transportation throughout the world. Used mostly to transport people and vehicles over short distances, these boats have always been an asset. Sadly, these vessels also can be very dangerous. If crew or captain is not at peak performance, or if the ship is not properly maintained or functioning, it can result in disaster.

Ferry travel can be very dangerous if ships are not maintained and personnel are not properly performing their duties. Because of the high risk associated with this type of work, Congress in 2006 extended specific protections to maritime workers who are injured on the job. There have been many devastating ferry accidents around the world. Included in this list are five of the most recent tragedies.

1. New Jersey

On January 9, 2013 a ferry carrying passengers from New Jersey to Lower Manhattan crashed into the pier. 72 on board were injured including crew members. Two of those passengers suffered life-threatening injuries. While an investigation is still being conducted, it has been reported that the captain of the vessel approached the pier at excessive speeds. A maritime injury lawyer would be concerned and eager to assist those workers that endured such a tragedy.

2. Hong Kong

In what was supposed to be a night of celebration, many individuals boarded various ferries in Hong Kong to sail on the water and watch the fireworks being launched for China Day. During the celebration, two of these ferries collided. Many passengers died and countless others were injured. Cause of the accident: Operator error. The captain of one boat was preoccupied with the fireworks display and allowed his ship to drift into another ferry that was located nearby.

3. Tanzania

In July 2012, a ferry transporting at least 250 guests and crew members left Tanzania for Zanzibar, despite weather conditions. It capsized and 73 people were found dead and 100 remain missing. Lack of escape entrances is cited as the cause for such high numbers of loss of life.

4. India

Early in 2012, a ferry carrying 250 individuals capsized, killing nearly every passenger. Reason for the capsizing: overcrowding. The boat was not equipped to handle more than 100 people.

5. Papua New Guinea

In February 2012, a ferry moving 350 persons capsized off of the coast of New Guinea. Approximately 100 or so people were lost at sea. Presently, there are still no confirmed answers as to why this tragedy occurred.

The Merchant Marine Act, also known as the Jones Act, specifically states how these vessels must be maintained, who can operate or work on the vessels, and where these vessels are allowed to travel. Failure to comply with the Act, which was updated in 2006, can lead to liability for the ferry operators and owners. It should be noted, however, that the specific protections outlined in the revision of the Jones act only apply to seamen that spend over 30 percent of their employment time on navigable waters. This means that maritime protections do not apply to dock workers, office personnel, or anyone that is not on a vessel for at least 13 hours per forty hour work week. 

Ieda Vincent has sailed several times and was always concerned about the safety of her family and others on board. Doyle Raizner LLP can provide a maritime injury lawyer knowledgeable and familiar with adversities at sea. They have experience worldwide and will effectively research the source of each incident to develop and present a strong defense.

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