Seaman sues after being struck by snapped mooring line

By Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau | Nov 12, 2012

A seaman has filed a Jones Act lawsuit against a vessel for allegedly traveling at an excessive rate of speed for inland waterways, which caused a large wake and resulted in his vessel’s mooring line to snap and hit him.

Magdier Vargas filed suit against Metalgenics Investment Group Inc., the Seahawk 2008 and Chandris (Hellas) Inc. on Nov. 8 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

The incident occurred on Oct. 18 as the M/V Aktea was en route on the Sabine-Neches waterway traveling at a rate of speed in excess of the safe rate of speed for inland waterways, the suit alleges.

The M/V Aktea allegedly created an excessive wake which hit the Seahawk 2008 and caused the mooring line to snap and strike Vargas. Vargas suffered severe injuries to his head, neck, back and face.

The defendants are accuse of negligence for failing to properly supervise their crew, failing to properly train their employees, failing to provide adequate safety equipment, operating the vessel with an inadequate crew, failing to operate the crane in a safe manner, and for failing to properly secure the mooring lines.

The defendants are also accused of negligence for sailing at an excessive rate of speed, failing to slow the M/V Aktea when it passed with Seahawk 2008 and for failing to warn mariners in its wake of the vessel’s speed and the size and intensity of its wake.

The plaintiff is asking the court for an award of damages for physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment, discomfort, distress, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, maintenance and cure, attorney’s fees, interest and court costs.

Vargas is represented by Dennis M. McElwee and Matthew D. Shaffer of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer, & Harris LLP in Houston.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:12-cv-00542

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