Seaman sues Enterprise Marine after falling through hatch

By Michelle Massey | Nov 12, 2010

A worker is suing his employer for requiring him to remove a hatch cover to a vessel's deck but not providing him barriers or other protective equipment to prevent his falling through the hatch.

Claiming provisions of the Jones Act, Eddie T. Authement filed suit against Enterprise Marine Services on Nov. 3 in federal court in New Orleans.

According to the lawsuit, Authement was working aboard the M/V Marie Cenac as a tankerman when the accident occurred. He states he was assigned to chip paint in the bilge while the vessel was navigating the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

Authement went into a confined area to perform his maintenance duties, which required that the bilge hatch cover be removed from the main deck and no barriers or cordons were available to mark off the area of the removed hatch cover. While he was standing in this area and speaking to his relief tankerman, he tripped and was thrown into the bilge due to an unexpected movement in the vessel.

He claims the defendant did not take the proper safety precautions in providing proper equipment to prevent workers from falling into the bilge.

The defendant is accused of negligence in failing to provide a competent crew, failing to properly supervise and supervise its employees, failing to provide Authement a safe place to work and requiring him to work in unsafe conditions, failing to adequately equip Authement with proper equipment required to perform certain operations.

Authement is represented by Gretna attorney Ronna M. Steele.

U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10-cv-04179

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