Tug & Barge Accidents

When an injured seaman says: "We flopped on the barge and put it on the hip, but it was getting away from us and the captain went full ahead and parted both the spring and head lines," you don't have to draw us a picture. We know exactly what it is you're telling us.

At Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC, our tug and barge accident attorneys are very experienced in tug and barge cases and have a proven track record in this area. We are schooled in all aspects of tug boat navigation and seamanship. If you have been injured on a tug or barge, why not hire lawyers who have handled many tow boat and barge cases and actually worked at sea so they know what you're talking about?

Contact a tug and barge accident lawyer at the Seattle-based law firm of Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC today for a free consultation and case evaluation. We represent injured seamen on a contingency basis, so you pay no attorney fees unless we win money damages for you. Call our office at 866-974-9633 to learn more about our firm.

If you have been injured working on a tug or barge, you have rights under the federal statutory law, the Jones Act, and federal maritime common law to recover compensation for your injuries. The maritime law for compensation applies to captains, mates, deckhands, engineers, able seamen, and cooks. This compensation includes payment for pain and suffering, disability, medical bills, lost wages, and lost wage earning capacity.

We Know The Dangers

Going to sea on a modern tug boat is an inherently dangerous job. Naval architects design tow boats to maximize horsepower, stability, and fuel capacity. These design components make tugs good seagoing vessels with lots of reserve stability, but create many tripping and falling hazards for crew members. However, the main danger in towing comes from a combination of the tug's horsepower and the weight of the barges being towed.

  • When a tug is attached to a barge with the tow wire, or on the hip with the bridle and soft lines, many things can go wrong. A line may part, a piece of wire rope can sweep the deck, or a crew member can be injured from the simple act of handling heavy lines or shackles. Tow winches are extremely powerful and an inherently dangerous piece of equipment for anyone working on deck. Anyone working on a tug boat knows that when lines let go or tow wires are moving around the deck, if a person is hit by one, he will be severely injured.
  • Another hazard of working on tug boats is presented by the inherent stability of tugs. Because tugs are essentially an engine room, fuel tank, and small crew's quarters and the wheel house, they are very stable. Because tugs are so stable, most tugs have a "stiff ride." When a tug rolls in a seaway, the inherent stability causes the tug to quickly right itself. In moderate to heavy seas this puts a lot of stress on the crew from fatigue and also makes it difficult and hazardous to move around the tug.
  • Another serious injury hazard for the towing vessel seamen are the barges they tow. Because barges are primarily designed for going to sea, rather than the safety of the seamen who must get on an off the barge in order to tie it up and let it go, many injuries occur just trying to get on and off the barge.
  • Most tow boat seamen are injured as the result of human error. Somebody makes a mistake. For example, the captain may misjudge the tide and wind and hit the dock hard enough to cause an allusion. A hydraulic leak may be overlooked, resulting in a dangerously slippery deck. Some companies fail to replace tie-up lines until they are dangerously worn.
  • Many seamen are injured because towing companies will not spend enough on safety. For example, some companies are too cheap to adequately man their vessels, which leads to many types of injures. Undermanning causes injuries when too few seamen are available to tie up a barge, leading to accidents.
  • Undermanning causes injuries when seamen work too many hours, become exhausted from sleep deprivation, and make mistakes that result in injury. Undermanning causes injuries when too few seamen are available to respond to vessel emergencies. Despite the fact that tug boat seaman have suffered back injuries from handling mooring lines for more than 100 years, many towing companies refuse to pay extra for light-weight, high-strength lines. They mistakenly believe that their employees' backs are cheaper than high tech lines.

Know Your Rights

Let the maritime law attorneys of Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC put our combined experience to work for you. We have handled many tug and barge cases including the following:

  • Broken "H" Bitt Resulting In Line Snapback - Wrongful Death
  • Poorly Maintained Anchor Winch Resulting In Wire Rope Unspooling - Wrongful Death
  • Ruptured Hydraulic Hose Causing Slippery Deck - Lower Limb Injury
  • Broken Aluminum Barge Access Ladder - Back Injury
  • Heavy Seas On Aft Deck Sweeping Able Seaman Into The Bulwarks - Back and Shoulder Injury
  • Broken Tag Line - Back Injury
  • No Ladder To Get From One Barge To Another - Knee Injury
  • Holes In The Dock - Knee and Back Injury
  • Slippery Bull Rail Causing Seaman To Fall Onto The Barge - Knee Injury
  • Heavy Large Diameter Mooring Lines - Shoulder Injury
  • Poorly Maintained Non-Skid - Back Injury
  • Poorly Maintained Crane On Log Barge - Brain Injury
  • Shorthanded Crew - Shoulder Injury
  • Improper Tools - Hand Injury
  • Cluttered Deck - Ankle and Knee Injury
  • Line Handling Accident On The Dock - Back Injury
  • Oily Engine Room Deck - Back Injury
  • Poorly Maintained Texas Deck Ladder - Back Injury
  • Heavy Weather Fall Down A Ladder - Back Injury

Washington And Oregon Tug Boat Companies

  • Fremont Towing
  • Brusco Tug and Barge
  • Island Tug and Barge
  • Foss Maritime
  • Western Towboat Co.
  • Seay Corp.
  • Sea Coast Towing
  • Pacific Coast Maritime Inc.
  • Olympic Tug and Barge

Contact a tug and barge accident attorney at Stacey & Jacobsen, PLLC.