Philippine Embassy Questions Gulf of Mexico Safety Conditions

Early November marked the tragic death of a Filipino offshore worker in the Gulf of Mexico, the fourth such death this year. With that many fatal accidents in so short a time, the embassy is understandably concerned about safety issues on offshore oil platforms in the area.

The embassy has called on the U.S. to examine policies and on the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to conduct an investigation into whether all safety measures are being properly implemented by all companies. While the embassy is representing Filipino workers in particular, they are urging that safer conditions be put into effect for all workers.

Three other Filipino workers died almost a year ago in an explosion on a different Gulf oil platform that also injured eleven other workers. Investigations in that case showed that it was the company’s fault and that the conditions on the platform were unsafe, so it is very reasonable for the embassy to be concerned in this case as well. Employers of offshore workers need to be held responsible for creating conditions that are as safe as possible. While some risks are simply part of offshore work, there are many policies and procedures that can be used to keep workers safe.

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in offshore work and you believe it is due to company negligence, you should immediately hire an offshore injury lawyer. Kirkendall Dwyer LLP offshore injury lawyers are standing by to take your case. Don’t hesitate to hold companies responsible for services they should be providing. By calling such practices to the attention of the law, you don’t only help yourself or your injured loved one, but also other offshore workers who will subsequently get improved safety conditions.

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Man Acquitted of Causing Deaths in Boating Accident

November 14th saw the conclusion of a trial for a tragic boating accident that happened in June 2012. The accused, Paul Bennett, had been his fishing boat when it crashed into the Prince family’s pontoon. Two young boys, Jake and Griffin Prince, were killed by the impact, and investigations have been ongoing since then as to who exactly was at fault for the fatal incident.

While Bennett was found not guilty of being at fault for the deaths of the boys, he was convicted on several other charges and sentenced to two and a half years of prison. He is also no longer allowed to operate a boat in the state of Georgia.

The original accident also caused a legislation change in the state, with a lowering of the legal alcohol limit permitted when in operation of a boat. It had been 0.10 but is now 0.08.

The boys’ family was unconvinced that Bennett was not at fault for the accident. While they are relieved that he received partial punishment and is no longer permitted to operate a boat, they still expressed disappointment that he was not being held responsible for the actions that they feel led to Jake and Griffin’s deaths. They are, however, happy that the law has been changed to make things safer for everyone and that the long process of determining what had happened was done, so that they could move forward with their lives.

Regardless of where responsibility lies for this accident, it is agreed by all parties that it was unexpected and tragic. Very few people are mentally or legally prepared for a serious boating accident. If you spend a lot of time on the water, you should seek the services of a maritime lawyer like Kirkendall Dwyer LLP.

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Numerous Accidents Reported after Typhoon

As expected, the Philippine Coast Guard has been receiving many reports of maritime accidents since the typhoon hit. The typhoon is considered to be one of the most powerful storms ever known to man so it is no wonder that many ships were impacted as a result. High winds create huge waves which can cause even some of the most seaworthy vessels to become damaged or disabled.

Unfortunately, when a ship goes down at sea there are often no survivors. This is especially true when there is a major storm in the area. A small lifeboat or life preservers or vests are no match for the powerful waves and wind that the typhoon produced.

Thus far, 13 maritime accidents have been reported to the coast guard. However, many more are likely expected. If entire ships went down with no survivors, it could take weeks or longer to learn of the accident. One of the worst accidents reported so far is the Andrea Princess, a cargo ship. It was taking shelter as best it could in Ando Island when the typhoon hit. The rough seas caused it to drift and eventually run aground. Of the crew members aboard, 2 have died, 5 are missing, and 15 have been saved.

The full extent of the disaster has not yet been realized. Many ships sunk, and many more drifted until they came to shore. Piles of debris including many ships must be gone through. It is likely that there were many maritime fatalities that are not yet known. While the typhoon was a natural disaster, many maritime accidents are the result of negligence. A Texas City personal injury attorney has experience dealing with all types of maritime accidents and injuries.

If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak to a Texas City personal injury attorney to learn what you should do after an accident occurs. Your attorney will answer any questions you may have and guide you through the legal process. It’s best to call a Texas City personal injury attorney as soon after the injury occurs as possible.

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Four Filipino Offshore Workers Dead in One Year

Things are getting ugly in the Gulf as the beginning of November marks the fourth death of a Filipino offshore worker within one year. Three were killed in an explosion on an oil platform in the latter half of last November, and now a worker trying to decommission a platform has also been killed in an accident.

Understandably, the Philippine Embassy has been concerned. The incidents suggest both the use of immigrant workers to take on riskier jobs- and it is obvious how dangerous these jobs can be- and bring up concerns about safety procedures. While many deep water wells have been revamped over the last three years after a serious incident in 2010, there has been much less stress on the safety protocols of shallow water wells.

However, it is clear that more emphasis does need to be made on these shallow water platforms and their safety procedures and training. The Philippine Embassy has urged the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, founded after the 2010 incident, to investigate this death and perform a close assessment on any related safety practices to protect both Filipino and American offshore workers from further injuries or fatalities.

Houston maritime workers, who have their own work in the Gulf, should be particularly concerned about these potential safety issues. If you do not already have a maritime lawyer in Houston lined up in case the worst should occur, you need to do so immediately. Call Kirkendall Dwyer LLP in order to get compensation for injuries you or a loved one has suffered or simply to get more information about your options in case a serious accident should happen to you. Be prepared and take on the very best in order to protect yourself properly.

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Oil Industry Should Replace Equipment, Expert Says

2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the disastrous Piper Alpha incident, the explosion of a North Sea oil platform that caused the deaths of over 160 offshore workers. Investigations ultimately pinned the accident on human error, and various reforms were made throughout the oil industry to improve safety condition in that area.

However, the anniversary of the accident has sparked speculation about what other safety issues the industry needs to address in the current era. One expert suggests that the equipment on many North Sea oil platforms, and perhaps elsewhere, is in need of replacement before another serious incident occurs.

Much of the current oil platform technology is up to thirty or forty years old and has been in constant operation for that time. While it has all been maintained, there comes a point when things need to be replaced or simply should be switched out due to better technology.

Recent incidents, such as a crane accident on a North Sea platform earlier this year, have spurred speculation that while the last disaster was human error, the next catastrophe may end up being due to mechanical failure if steps are not taken. Oil companies are being urged to inspect their equipment thoroughly and not to cut corners on replacements in order to avoid a repeat of the high fatal accident twenty-five years ago.

Even when everything and everyone are working properly, offshore work is a dangerous profession. It is better to be prepared in case an accident does happen. Anyone involved in this type of work should have a maritime injury attorney selected and ready should the worst occur. If you are an offshore worker, especially if you’ve already suffered injury, don’t put off contacting Kirkendall Dwyer LLP to learn more about what you are entitled to.

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Multiple Violations Issued for 2012 Offshore Oil Accident

A recent report has been issued placing blame for a November 2012 oil rig accident on the offshore oil company and contractors. The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement issued more than 40 violations to Black Elk Energy and some of its contractors. The violations squarely place blame for many safety issues that the company failed to comply with which may have contributed to the accident that killed 3 people.

The accident happened off the coast of Grand Isle. The report indicates that there was oil in the fuel tank when scheduled welding started. The welding caused oil to ignite, which began a series of events, launching two tanks into the air. One of the tanks fell into the Gulf of Mexico, which made an oil slick that spread to an area about a half mile wide and 200 yards long. The accident killed three of the welders and a few other workers were injured, suffering severe burn due to the explosion and fire.

In part, the violations indicate that the company failed to provide a safe work area, indicating that the oil tanks should have been cleaned before any welding was to take place. The company said the workers could have refused to work if they felt the conditions were not safe. However, the report states that the workers were afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation by their employer.

In all, 41 violations, called “incidents of noncompliance” were issued to a total of 4 contractors. The companies are given 2 months to appeal the violations, if they wish to do so. Now, the violations will be reviewed to determine any associated fines that will be assessed to the companies. In cases such as this one, the victims will need to speak to an attorney that specializes in oil rig accidents such as a League City oil rig injury attorney. A League City oil rig injury attorney knows the latest laws governing these types of accidents and will work to get compensation for your injuries. The League City oil rig injury attorney will review the accident and determine the best way to proceed.

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