Money for Crew Members for Unseaworthiness

Information for Crew Members

To the average person, a ship is unseaworthy when it is unable to navigate due to mechanical or structural problems. This notion is correct. However, as it applies to the crew that works on a ship, unseaworthiness has an additional meaning in the United States. In the famous Osceola case, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a ship and her owner are legally responsible for the injuries received by a crew member as a result of the unseaworthiness of the ship. The Supreme Court also defined unseaworthiness as the failure to keep a ship in good working order and free of dangerous and defective conditions.

What does this mean for the crew member working on a cruise ship?

It means that the crew member has the right to receive money compensation from the ship and her owner if he is injured aboard the ship because of dangerous or defective conditions aboard the ship. The most common instances of unseaworthiness aboard cruise ships are:

  1. An insufficient crew. Cruise ships are frequently understaffed. When this happens, a crew member may have to do the job of two and work very long hours. If this crew member is injured, he has the right to receive money compensation from the cruise line.
  2. Failure to promulgate and enforce sensible policies for the lifting, carrying and pushing of heavy weights. If a crew member is injured because he was made to lift, carry, or push heavy weights, he has the right to receive money compensation from the cruise line.
  3. Failure to keep the ship clean and safe. Very often, the floors and stairs of the ship are dirty and slippery. If a crew member is injured because the floor or the stairs are slippery, he has the right to receive money compensation from the cruise line.
  4. Failure to have a properly trained and rested crew. Very often, crew members are injured because they do not receive adequate training to do their jobs or because they are not properly rested. If a crew member is injured because he is tired or not properly trained, he has the right to receive money compensation from the cruise line.
  5. Failure to have the necessary equipment. Very often, the cruise lines fail to repair or replace defective or broken down equipment. If a crew member is injured because he did not have the proper equipment or the equipment he was using was defective, he has the right to receive money compensation from the cruise line.

Our advice to any crew member that is injured aboard a cruise ship is to consult with a maritime lawyer right away because his injuries were most likely caused by the unseaworthiness of the ship.