Towing company not liable for unseaworthiness of barge

Thursday, July 21, 2005
In a short unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a towing company is not liable for personal injuries caused by any unseaworthiness of a barge being towed by the company where the towing company does not own the barge. In the instant case, an employee of the towing company was injured when he slipped on ice on the barge. The employee sued his employer, alleging unseaworthiness. The court held that, under a contract for towage, the towing company does not become the owner pro hac vice of the barge. Coakley v. SeaRiver Maritime, Inc., No. 04-30569 (5th Cir., HK Law).

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