Vessel owners and employers are required to report any maritime injury that requires more than basic first aid and makes the injured seaman unable to perform his work. Oftentimes seamen and offshore workers are directly or indirectly told by their supervisors not to fill out an incident report. This happens for a variety of reasons. For example, many employers and ship owners give bonuses to crews and captains that demonstrate a low number of accidents. Unfortunately, some supervisors attempt to suppress accident reports for these and other reasons.
According to the United States Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security, more than 4,000 recreational boating accidents have been reported in each of the past five years. Recreational boating accidents occur year round and may involve jet skis, fishing boats, cruise ships, kayaks, canoes, and many other types of boating vessels. In 2014, which is the most recent year with available information, operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed, and alcohol were the most common causes of recreational boating accidents.
On March 9, the medium range tanker Carla Maersk collided with the supramax bulk carrier Conti Peridot in the Houston Shipping Channel off Morgan's Point. While news sources report no injuries, the collision ruptured Carla Maersk's tanks, spilling thousands of barrels of the flammable chemical MTBE. The spill caused the shutdown of an 8-mile portion of the 50-mile waterway for nearly two days, and resulted in a "shelter-in-place" order for residents of Morgan's Point.
The recent spill of 168,000 gallons of heavy oil into the Houston Ship Channel creates immediate and obvious environmental concerns. In addition, it has disrupted shipping for several days, with the channel only now being partially reopened.