Gulf Copper sues over vessel lost in Galveston channel

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Jan 5, 2011

GALVESTON – Gulf Copper & Manufacturing Corp. blames Energy Cranes LLC and Offshore Energy Center for the sinking of one of its vessels, recent court documents say.

In a lawsuit filed Dec. 16 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas, the plaintiff explains that on Aug. 19, 2009, the boom portion of a crane owned by Offshore Energy fell on top of the M/V Jerry Picton, causing it to sink into the Galveston Ship Channel.

Offshore Energy hired Gulf Copper to perform repairs and renovations at its property, the Ocean Star Oil Rig Museum in Galveston. The M/V Jerry Picton was used to collect, hold, store and transport the structural steel and scrap from the jobsite to the plaintiff's facility for disposal, the suit states.

According to the original petition, Energy Cranes purported to inspect the Ocean Star Museum Crane by the issuance of an inspection certificate dated July 24, 2009, approximately a month before the alleged incident.

Gulf Copper claims that the fair market value of the vessel at the time of the loss was in excess of $400,000.

"As a result of the sinking, the M/V Jerry Picton was declared a constructive total loss," the suit says.

"In addition, Gulf Copper incurred costs and labor in the amount of $48,266.69."

The Bale Law Firm is representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt is presiding over the case.

Case No. 3:10-cv-00584

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