Godwin, Morris, Laurenzi & Bloomfield, P.C.

Memphis Personal Injury Law Blog

"Hamm Alert" - New safety system coming in wake of El Faro?

In the wake of the tragic downing of cargo ship El Faro on October 1, 2015, the widow of a crew member now looks for new safety measures. The El Faro went down as it carried cargo from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The catastrophic event took the lives of 33 aboard the ship, including Frank Hamm, the husband of Rochelle Hamm.

What she found out about the events that transpired those few days, encouraged her to lobby for improved safety measures to protect merchant mariners in the future. She wishes that protection would have been in place for her husband. 

How soon will driverless technology take to the water?

It's only a matter of time before automated technology becomes common on land, air and sea. While driverless cars are getting most of the attention, companies are also exploring driverless technology on ships.

Executives at Rolls-Royce predict that within a decade, automated ships will be common in seas across the world, and automated ferries and tugs may be making short journeys within just a few years, according to a recent article in IEEE Spectrum.

Walking the fine line of longshore and harbor workers' comp

In terms of employment law, you might say that longshoremen and harbor workers occupy a place between seamen and land-based employees. Because they are part of a vast maritime industry, but do not necessarily go out to sea, the federal government created the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act in 1927 to protect this niche class of hardworking men and women.

The LHWCA differs from both the Jones Act that protects seaman and Tennessee's workers' compensation insurance. Unlike these protections, the LHEWCA generally gives injured workers the ability to be fully compensated if they suffer a loss. There are fine lines between these types of worker protections.

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