Legal Rights of Maritime Workers
In terms of hazards and difficult work environments, being below decks doesn't
necessarily mean a nicer work station than being exposed to the sea. Think of that
marine engineer in the confines of a ferry or yacht engine room. Standing watches in
confined machinery spaces that many people would like to leave after a quick visit, chief
engineers and assistant engineers go about monitoring their engine’s oil pressures,
cooling water outlet temperatures, fuel consumption…all while trying to ignore the
deafening roar of diesel engines around them. Not to mention the heat…. and the fuel
and oil vapors continually wafting in the air. That’s a nice place to be in rough seas, isn’t
it…trying to keep your balance on steel gratings and catwalks as the vessel rolls 15 - 20
degrees to port or starboard.
Even though the job of the commercial mariner is dangerous everywhere in the world,
an aspect of maritime employment that a job candidate must understand is that their
bundle of legal rights may depend upon the sovereign state of ship’s registry. If you work
on a U.S. flag vessel, your legal rights are governed by U.S. maritime law. It doesn’t
matter if your job is barge mate on the lower Mississippi River, chief engineer on a U.S.
flag container ship, or captain on a tugboat. Your rights are governed by U.S. maritime
|The Legal Rights of Officers and Crews
|Maritime Jobs - Marine Jobs - Deckhands - Tankermen - Able Seaman - Maritime Jobs - Deck Engine - Employment in the Maritime
Industry - Work on Ships - Yachts - Tugboats - Cruise Ships
Some of the jobs offered by the maritime industry come with attractive salaries. As the
adage goes, "you don't get something for nothing." Many of these jobs are not without
their share of occupational hazards. On-the-job injuries and hazards of this industry.
When our deckhand goes to work on a brutally cold February morning two hours before
the sun rises, he or she is the one who scrapes ice off the slippery deck of a barge....
not the doorman outside a nice office building. And a mis-step on that cold slippery
steel deck can mean a fall into 33 degree water in the middle of February.
If you want to think about occupational hazards, think of commercial fishing. It’s one of
the most dangerous industries in terms of injury and death. More About the Jones Act A
Crab fisherman on the Bering Sea functioning on three hours of sleep can be slammed
around like a bowling pin if a beam wave hits that crab boat at a right angle and
swamps the work area. Bones can be fractured, fingers can be lost. These jobs are not
easy money. They are not “cush” jobs.
|The fact that a commercial
seaman boards a vessel at a
U.S. port doesn't necessarily
mean that the vessel is U.S.
flag vessel. Look at the cruise
industry. Many of the vessels
are registered in the
Bahamas, Panama and other
foreign flag states. If you are
on a non - U.S. flag vessel,
your rights will not be
governed by U.S. maritime
law. When a person signs up
to work on a cruise ship, as
with recruiters in the
Phillipines or Greece that
provide cruise lines with
source of labor, the person
may be required to sign an
agreement where they agree
that an arbitration in the
Phillipines or other location
will be used to hear their case
in the event of an injury or