Washington State Ferry passenger vessel M/V CATHLAMET had a hard landing at Fauntleroy Terminal in West Seattle on Thursday morning, July 28. The vessel was approaching the terminal when it struck a dolphin—a fendering component normally used to guide the vessel into place at the dock. Service at the Fauntleroy Terminal, which provides passage to Vashon Island and Southworth, was suspended.
M/V CATHLAMET was heavily damaged during the allision. Local residents reported the sounds of a small explosion and screeching during the incident, but the exact cause of the casualty remains unclear. There was also reportedly damage to some of the passenger cars aboard the vessel as well. While there are currently no reports of injuries or pollution, the situation is evolving. The Coast Guard confirmed that it is opening an investigation on the cause of the incident, and it remains possible that the National Transportation Safety Board will get involved as well.
Ferry allisions, where a moving vessel strikes a stationary object, can cause horrendous personal injuries to passengers and crewmembers. The vessel’s forward momentum coupled with massive deceleration of striking a fixed object can propel people into the floor, walls, furniture, stairwells, and each other. The force can also cause objects on the vessel to move about unexpectedly and strike those standing nearby.
General maritime law may provide a claim for passengers who are injured aboard vessels such as M/V CATHLAMET. Similarly, the Jones Act protects commercial seamen who serve aboard Washington State Ferry vessels. While claims for compensation may be available under the law, time is often of the essence in reporting injuries and seeking legal assistance from an experience maritime law firm. Mariner Law, PLLC exclusively represents victims of personal injury on or around the navigable waters of the United States. With offices in Washington State, the firm prides itself on extensive experience with ferry litigation and admiralty law.
If you or a loved one was injured aboard a Washington State Ferry vessel, call a maritime lawyer at Mariner Law, PLLC for a free consultation: (360) 399-2788. An admiralty attorney may be available to help you investigate the root cause of the incident and chart your path to legal recovery.