Improper Hull Maintenance to Blame for Towboat Sinking

Maritime Accident Attorneys

Preventative maintenance on boats and ships helps keep its crewmembers and passengers safe. When proper maintenance is not conducted, the consequences can be devastating. Recently, a towboat capsized and sank in the Mississippi River due to a lack of effective inspections of the boat’s hull.

Fleet towboat Miss Roslyn capsized and sank on the lower Mississippi River near Reserve, Louisiana. Operators of the towboat abandoned it near a moored fleet barge, leaving the towboat to sink on its starboard side. Improper vessel maintenance was found to have caused the sinking.

The improper maintenance was discovered after a marine survey was done on the towboat. The survey indicated severe wastage, which included a hole and fractured seam in the hull of the boat, as well as a fractured stern deck plate, and bubbles coming from the hull indicating corrosion to the starboard fuel tanks and potable water tanks. The surveyor estimated the damages would total over $1 million, thus considering the vessel a total loss.

The Importance of Maritime Vessel Maintenance

Proper maintenance is an incredibly important part of the maritime industry. Maintaining a vessel helps keep its mechanical equipment and machinery operating properly and prolongs the life of the ship. Many larger ships have engine rooms where most of the mechanical equipment is located. Each machine onboard a larger ship requires maintenance, which should be carried out at regular intervals.

Many vessels require efficient planning techniques to ensure maintenance checks are undertaken and completed on time. The maintenance systems that should be followed in the maritime industry include:

  • Preventative maintenance: Often known as the planned maintenance system (PMS), this type of system provides for maintenance to be carried out every six months to a year depending on the machinery. This maintenance is carried out regardless of the condition of the machinery, meaning that parts should be replaced each cycle regardless of their condition.
  • Corrective maintenance: These systems provide for maintenance to be carried out when machinery breaks down or requires repairing. This allows machinery parts to be used for their full lifespan, as they are only replaced when and if they break. However, this system can become costly in the event a complete breakdown occurs and multiple parts need replacing.
  • Condition maintenance: Parts are checked regularly with the assistance of sensors and monitoring devices. This system requires the knowledge and input of an experienced operator, as erroneous interpretations can damage machinery and lead to costly repairs.

Houston Maritime Accident Attorneys

Failing to maintain a vessel is a major contributing factor to maritime accidents. When a vessel is traveling in navigable waters and an accident happens, maritime law applies. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a maritime accident due to improper maintenance or the negligence of another, contact the maritime accident attorneys at Dax F. Garza, P.C. today to discuss your case.


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