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Owners of towing vessel file complaint to avoid any claims regarding barge crash

By Gene Johnson | Nov 23, 2015

A marine transportation company has filed in an attempt to avoid any lawsuits in connection with a barge crash at the West Closure Complex in Southeast Louisiana.

Higman Barge Lines Inc. filed a complaint on Aug. 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, claiming that any damages were not the fault of the Pelican but of those in charge of the complex and therefore the company is not responsible.

On April 16, the towing vessel Pelican, owned by Higman Barge Lines, was pushing two loaded barges approaching the West Closure Complex of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – West, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the complex was testing the floodgate and pumps that day and a radio transmission stated that the testing had been completed. The captain of the Pelican, the complaint claims, was not informed by VHF radio that those in charge of the closure complex were continuing to operate the pumps at the facility.

When the Pelican and her two-barge tow proceeded through the opening of the navigable floodgate, strong currents and a suction from the facility’s pumps caused the towing vessel and barges to strike structures at the facility. One of the barges sustained some damages, the complaint states.

Higman Barge Lines is represented by J. Frederick Kessenich and Ryan M. Bourgeois of Daigle Fisse and Kessenich in Covington.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana case number 2:15-cv-03716-ILRL-MBN

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