On July 28, 2022, the Washington State Ferry CATHLAMET struck a piling as it approached the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal near Seattle. The accident caused $7.7 million in damage and one minor injury.
An investigation by Washington State Ferries concluded that the captain at the helm lost situational awareness while landing the vessel. However, that captain resigned the day after the accident and has not yet provided an explanation for what happened.
The investigation also found that the quartermaster was distracted from his primary responsibility of acting as a lookout because he was reading a report. Additionally, the captain failed to log actions that were part of the docking procedure.
Drug and alcohol tests were conducted and came back negative. The vessel was found to be functioning normally with no mechanical issues.
Washington State Ferries has reinstated non-mandatory training that was reduced due to cost-cutting. Additional policies and training are under development, while a safety notice reinforcing landing procedures was immediately sent following the accident. In addition, “black box” data recorders have been installed aboard the CATHLAMET and other ferries in the fleet. These devices will assist post-accident investigators to determine the root cause of an incident and help prevent future injuries/property damage.
Thousands of passengers and commercial mariners commute by ferry every single day. It is crucial that these passenger vessels are held to the highest possible standards for the safety of everyone aboard. However, all too often, negligence aboard ferries results in severe personal injuries, or even death. This can lead to complex legal claims by crewmembers, passengers, and other third-parties. If you or a family member was hurt or killed aboard a passenger vessel, be sure to hire an experienced maritime law firm that understands the Jones Act, unseaworthiness, and maritime law.
Mariner Law, PLLC is here to provide a free consultation to anyone injured aboard a vessel. Call (253) 600-2531 today to learn more and take steps toward the compensation you deserve.