Brian White | July 27, 2019 | Maritime Law
It wasn’t that long ago that the Houston Ship Channel closed due a tanker collision. On May 10, 2019, the 755-foot tanker Genesis River collided with a tug boat pushing two barges. This collision caused the release of reformate and other petrochemicals into the Bay’s ecosystem. This has, in turn, affected many of the shrimpers and oyster farmers who work in the Bay. At the center of this collision is Kirby Inland Marine, LP. Kirby Inland Marine, LP is the owner and operator of the tugboat, Voyager, which was part of this collision. They have been involved in other vessel collisions in the Bay before. They are no strangers to the legal framework around the injury claims that arise from such a collision.
Limitation of Liability
On June 19, 2019, Kirby Inland Marine, LP filed in Federal court to have its liability limited in a filing called “Petition for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability.” This is a common maritime practice for vessel and owners of vessels involved in collisions or other accidents. You may remember that back in 2018, the owners of the “duck boat” that killed 17 people used the same law. This 1851 law allows the owners of the vessel to limit the amount of money they could be forced to payout. The limit set by the court would be equal to the value of the boat and its cargo. Thankfully, in the “duck boat” catastrophe, the vessel owners were not granted such a limitation of liability. Those that stayed the course in their lawsuits against the owners saw the jury award $123 million to the remaining plaintiffs.
Are You Affected?
As Kirby Inland Marine, LP has already initiated this proceeding, your time to become involved may be short. You need to contact an experienced trial lawyer that knows the in and outs of these procedures. If you are a Shrimper, an Oyster Farmer, or own and operate vessels in Galveston Bay, you may have a claim. Speak to an attorney and learn what your rights are and how to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.