Barges Strike Navy Boating Gaged in a Training Exercise Resulting in Death of Crew Member
A 19-year-old sailor in the U.S. Navy was taking part of in a night time training exercise aboard a 24-foot inflatable boat known as a RHIB when a group of barges being pushed by a tug boat struck the boat. The sailor was sucked under the barges and suffered injuries resulting in his death. His survivors consisted of his parents and seven siblings. At the time of his death the sailor had earned about 21,000 dollars a year. A claim was brought on behalf of the survivors under general maritime law, alleging that the tug boat failed to post a crew member on the led barge to watch for other boats in the area. According to the plaintiff, had the tug boat done so, the collision could have been avoided. Eventually it was decided by a United States District Court Judge that U.S. Government was 80% at fault and the tug boat was 20% at fault. The award to the Estate of the deceased sailor was 1.25 million. Later on in the case the court granted a U.S. Government motion for summary judgment based on sovereign immunity. As a result Volcan remains responsible for the entire award. Currently the case is on appeal.
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