Companies who work in the state's maritime industry may already know that they could have some dealings with the California Public Utility Commission. Those dealings may not always be amicable, and a business could end up involved in licensing or regulatory disputes with the agency. If that happens, it may be possible to resolve those issues through alternative dispute resolution.
Like people across the country, some Long Beach residents take cruises. Other people may charter smaller boats for their vacations. What happens if someone dies as the result of negligence while on one of these vessels during those trips? The answer may lie in the Death on the High Seas Act of 1920.
The price of everything is going up, and it affects nearly every business, including the state's maritime industry. Even California ports are struggling to stay competitive when it comes to leasing space. One of the primary reasons is the Clean Air Action Plan.
Nearly every industry relies on technology in some fashion these days. The maritime industry is no exception, which makes it as vulnerable to cyberattacks as any other industry here in California or elsewhere. Those attacks could put workers in danger, cause damage to property, cause damage to the economy and potentially expose the environment and people to hazardous pollutants.
The federal government closely regulates the movement of goods in and out of the nation's ports, including those here in California. One of the regulatory agencies anyone in the industry must deal with is the Federal Maritime Commission. Understanding its role in the import and export of goods may help companies to remain in compliance with its regulations.
As a maritime worker in Long Beach, you know full well that many of the same standards and practices that apply to most industries have no place in your line of work. That includes the many guidelines in place providing you with workplace protections (such as injury expense compensation through the Jones Act). Yet where you aware that your company can seek a Jones Act waiver? Many have come to us here at Russell Mirkovich & Morrow questioning whether seeking such a waiver would have any impact on individual employee protections.
Most people in California have heard, seen or read reports about the recent fire that struck a dive boat off the shore of Southern California. Tragically, 34 people died in the fire as they were reported to have been unable to flee the burning vessel. All of those who died were paying passengers. The only survivors were the five crewmembers. The fire erupted in the middle of the night when everyone, including the crew, was asleep. The incident is raising many questions about the liability for the fire and the cause of the fire.
Working professionals in any industry take comfort in the knowledge that workers’ compensation laws are in place to provide for them when they are injured at work, and you as a maritime worker are no exception. The protections afforded to you and your co-workers through the Jones Act may be well-known; what you may not know is that ships can actually request that the Jones Act be waived in their regard. A common question we field here at Russell Mirkovich & Morrow is whether or not the employee protections afforded by the Jones Act are also suspended when a vessel is granted a waiver.
The expectation is that when you are injured at work, your employer will cover the expenses related to that injury. That expectation applies even when you work in the maritime industry. Even if your injury occurs out on waters far away from Long Beach, employee legal protections (more specifically, The Jones Act) follow you around the world. Many in your profession come to us here at Russell, Mirkovich & Morrow prepared to pursue a standard workers' compensation claim after having been injured at sea, yet the guidelines governing maritime accident injuries are somewhat unique.
Whether you are a California land-based maritime employee or working offshore, the risk of injury is considerable. As a result, having the right coverage in the event of an accident on the job is critical. At Russel Mirkovich & Morrow, we often handle claims for clients injured offshore.