Dredge is a Vessel for Purposes of LHWCA

Tuesday, March 01, 2005
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a dredge not currently in navigation is still a vessel for purposes of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). In the instant case, a marine engineer was injured while performing repairs on a scow tied up to a dredge. The dredge was capable of only limited movement on its own, dragging itself along using anchors and cables. Otherwise, it had to be towed. The lower court held that, since the primary purpose of the dredge was not navigation or commerce, it was not a vessel and the marine engineer could not recover under the LHWCA. The Supreme Court held that the dredge was a vessel because it was a watercraft used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water. Stewart v. Dutra Construction Co., No. 03-814 (HK Law)

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