Boaters seek $1M from bulk carrier for creating damaging wake

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Apr. 30, 2008, 1:00pm

GALVESTON � The sinking of a small boat carrying two seafarers in the Houston Ship Channel is the focus of a lawsuit filed in Galveston County District Court April 28.

David Jerry Floyd, Sandra Lynn Wood and Capt. David R. Huston allege M/V UBC Tampico, a bulk carrier ship approximately 600 feet long, inflicted considerable damage to their vessel, the Lynda Sioux.

The plaintiffs, who are represented by attorney Bradley W. Christen, seek $1 million from the defendants.

According to the suit, on the evening of Oct. 20, 2007, the Tampico created a bow wake that lured the small boat.

In addition to M/V UBC Tampico, the trio challenges United Bulk Carriers, SeaQuest Repair and Salvage, an unidentified second ship, and its unnamed owner on allegations of general maritime negligence and gross negligence before Judge Susan Criss in the 212th District Court.

Other grievances include destruction, looting, negligent salvage, and theft.

The incident, which occurred near Red Fish Island halfway between Houston and Galveston, reportedly rendered the Lynda Sioux motionless and pockmarked and left passengers Floyd and Wood seriously injured.

"The bow wake lifted his boat up," explains the suit. "The wake pushed his boat into a sunken barge that prevented him from being able to steer or move. The stern wake then proceeded to hit the stranded Lynda Sioux and knock a hole in the boat. The violent stop and fierce bouncing of the boat knocked Mr. Floyd into the cabin on his right side and he sustained injuries. Plaintiff Wood was knocked over the wheel of the boat and sustained injuries due to her fall."

Despite being hurt, Floyd attempted to stop the flooding with no success. He and Wood were then rescued by a nearby Coast Guard vessel.

An effort to extricate the Lynda Sioux ensued, but was met with misfortune as another passing ship caused more damage that culminated in the sinking, states the suit.

"As they worked to free the Lynda Sioux, Unnamed Second Vessel proceeded to pass. Unnamed Second Vessel's wake knocked the Towboat U.S. into the Lynda Sioux. The Towboat U.S. captain, who was busy pumping the water out of the Lynda Sioux, was thrown over the side of his vessel and where he was hanging by the railing. The wave of the second ship inundated the Lynda Sioux causing it to sink. The boat owned by Towboat U.S. sustained damage as it was driven into the Lynda Sioux by the wake created by Unnamed Second Vessel."

After the accident, Floyd later sought the help of SeaQuest Repair and Salvage in hopes of saving the Lynda Sioux.

The suit contends the company took more than a month to raise the ship. When the task was finally complete, Floyd inspected the boat only to discover "a number of recoverable items were not present."

"Missing items included, but are not limited to, the helm, teak decking, Plaintiff Floyd's work tools and all other personal belongings, including his clothes," says the suit.

Case No. 08CV0431

More News