A 57-year-old longshore worker fell more than 20 feet into the cargo hold of a ship at the Port of Los Angeles around 11:45 am yesterday. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, the incident occurred while the longshoreman was unloading the NAVIOS VECTOR, a Panamanian-flagged, 623-foot bulk cargo vessel located at Berth 209.
The dock worker suffered back and legs injuries after the fall, which according to reports, occurred among 60-foot-long steel pipes securely fastened in the ship’s hold at least two levels below deck. It took approximately 60 LAFD personnel and two hours to rescue the longshoreman who was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The incident today once again draws our attention to the dangerous working conditions that longshore workers face every day. Hazards on foreign flag ships that are not in compliance with more rigorous U.S. safety standards are often found to be the cause of such tragedies. Fortunately, even though the injury occurred on a foreign flagged ship, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act applies to give the injured worker a workers’ compensation claim against his employer. The injured worker also has the right to sue the ship owner if, in fact, a dangerous condition on the ship caused the accident.