What Defines an Unworthy Sea Vessel?

A seaworthy ship is well-equipped and able to handle the waters in which it’s intended to travel. The seaworthiness of a ship can be a determining factor in a personal injury case involving a maritime accident. To put it simply, if a ship is not up to standards, the carrier may be held liable for the incident.

At Waitz & Downer, we want you to stay informed about Maritime accidents and the legal matters that surround them.

What is an Unworthy Sea Vessel?

Maritime Attorney Baton Rouge LA

An unworthy sea vessel is one that is not equipped to handle the journey at sea. The seaworthiness of a ship depends on its physical condition, its fittings, the size of the crew, and the loading of cargo (if applicable). Even a ship in great physical condition may not be deemed seaworthy simply because its crew is not large enough or experienced enough to handle the journey.

Generally, a ship is considered an unworthy sea vessel if:

  • It is not safe or fit for a sea voyage.
  • It is in poor physical condition.
  • It is overladen.
  • It is not well-designed for the trip it will be making. For example, a sailboat may be fit for conditions in the Caribbean, but will likely not be fit for artic conditions.
  • The crew is too small or incompetent.
  • There are insufficient bunkers for the trip.
  • The necessary legal documents for the voyage are missing.
  • The ship is not well-equipped.
  • Parts of the ship in which goods are carried are not fit or safe for carrying said goods.

Much like premises liability, the owner of a sea vessel has an obligation to ensure that the vessel is reasonably equipped and suitable for its intended use. He or she is also responsible for ensuring that the crew is competent enough to look over the ship. The working environment and living conditions of the ship should be reasonably safe.

Maritime Accidents with Waitz & Downer

That being said, the owner of the vessel is not responsible for guaranteeing safety, nor are they required to ensure that the vessel is perfect in every aspect. Nevertheless, if the owner of the sea vessel carries out the voyage with an unworthy sea vessel, they may be held liable for any injuries or accidents that take place. If you’ve been involved in a maritime accident that may have been caused by an unworthy sea vessel, contact Waitz & Downer today for help!