Fisher Maritime personnel regularly analyze tug-barge casualties, and have done so for over the past thirty years, providing technical advice and expert witness services. The effectiveness of our expert reports and depositions is evidenced by the fact that litigation has been settled before going to trial in the majority of the cases we're involved in.
We have analyzed, reported on, been deposed, and testified in many courts about topics such as mooring line and cable weights/strengths, proper use of machinery, industry regulations and guidelines, vessel navigation, communications, meteorology and more. We offer some insights gained from our analyses of tug-barge casualties below.
Many tug-barge personal injury claims involve incidents that occurred while working with lines, cables, or hoses. We are often called upon to provide accurate information with respect to the weight of these items, as well as industry standards regarding amounts of weight that a seaman may be reasonably expected to handle.
We have been involved in many personal injury matters arising from incidents that occurred with specific towing operations, especially the rigging of push cables and the retrieval of an astern-towed barge. Our experts have first-hand experience with the proper procedures for the safe accomplishment of such operations.
The tug-barge industry certainly has its share of slip and fall cases, many of which involve access aids such as ladders. We have, on numerous occasions, been called upon to identify the correct statutory requirements pertaining to particular incidents, along with the responsibilities of tug, barge and dock facility operators.
We have also participated in many cases that entail statutory infractions, such as "Rules of the Road" violations. Our experience reveals that the two most commonly violated Rules are failure to keep a proper lookout and improper vessel speed.