Seaman claims he was enclosed in engine room when exposed to carbon dioxide

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jun. 4, 2008, 4:46pm

M/V Liberty Star

GALVESTON – Liberty Maritime Corporation almost left a seaman for dead after it activated a piece of equipment on one of its ships, claims a lawsuit filed in Galveston County District Court on May 27.

Panagiotis "Panos" Andronikos of Sheridan, Ark., was working aboard the M/V Liberty Star in an enclosed engine room on March 13 when his superiors allegedly utilized the vessel's carbon dioxide fire suppression equipment.

The suit states the incident, which took place at a shipyard in Turkey, injured and incapacitated Andronikos.

"As a result, Mr. Andronikos was asphyxiated, and fell while attempting to escape the enclosed engine room," explains the complaint. "He was rendered unconscious, and remained without oxygen for an extended period of time until finally rescued."

The case asserts Andronikos incurred severe injuries to various parts of his body as well as his mental state.

"As a result, Mr. Andronikos sustained head injuries, cervical spine injuries, neurological injuries to his eye and other parts of his body, along with psychological injuries," it says. "The Incident in which Mr. Andronikos was injured and the injuries he sustained in the Incident were proximately caused by the negligence on the part of Liberty Maritime, and their agents, servants, and employees acting in the course and scope of their respective employment at all times material to this case."

In addition to negligence, Liberty Maritime Corporation is accused of maintaining an unsafe vessel. The suit was filed under the Jones Act, a federal statute that, among other things, allows injured sailors to obtain damages from their employers due to negligence caused by the ship owner, captain or fellow members of the crew.

Assisted by attorney Jeffrey L. Raizner, the Plaintiff seeks damages in excess of $75,000 from Liberty Maritime Corporation to compensate for the physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses, loss of income, physical impairment, and disfigurement that have reportedly befallen him.

Andronikos has filed a request for a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Judge David Garner, 10th District Court.

Case No. 08CV0545

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