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What Is a Barge?

Texas maritime law covers a host of different ships, ranging from tankers, to naval vessels, to tugboats, to barges. Barges are some of the more common types of vessels viewed on state and federal waterways since they are the vessels which often ship goods throughout the country as well as to different nations. However, since these vessels are so common, they unfortunately are involved in many different vessel accidents leading to maritime claims in federal courts.

What is a Barge?

A barge is a long, flat-bed ship which transports goods throughout rivers, canals, and other waterways and is often towed by a tugboat. While some barges do not need a tow, most are pushed or towed by tugboats through the waterways. Barges were the vessel of choice prior to the Industrial Revolution, although the slow speed of barges no longer make these vessels as popular as they once were. However, barges still serve an important role in maritime commerce and are common sights along any port city.

Different Types of Barges

Several types of barges exist within the shipping world that are used to transport goods up and down waterways.

  • The Dry Bulk Cargo Barge is a type of barge which carries dry cargo, including foodstuffs, grain, sand, and other minerals.
  • The Liquid Cargo Barge often carries petrochemicals and fertilizers.
  • The Car Float Barge serves an important role in modern society and ferries rail carts. While not as popular a vessel as they were in the early 20th century, car float barges are still used to transport railcars throughout the United States.
  • The Crane Barge is a barge which has grown in popularity lately due to its usage in oil and gas offshore facilities.
  • The Jack-Up Barge is also one used in offshore oil and gas exploration and is used in drilling platforms or to service other vessels involved in offshore activities.

Issues Which Occur with Barges

In major cities, every so often you hear about an incident caused when a barge has been involved in an accident within the port area or has impacted roadway infrastructure (such as running into a bridge). Barges also require many other working parts in order to navigate through narrow waterways, including the use of various tugboats. Therefore, the incidence of vessel accidents is often much higher than it would be with ordinary commercial vessels. If you have been involved in a barge accident, you may be able to claim recovery under different maritime law actions.

Malley Law Firm | Houston Maritime Lawyer

If you have been involved in a barge accident, do not hesitate to contact experienced maritime attorney Tony Malley. Tony Malley has years of experience in handling various types of vessel accidents, many which involve barges throughout the Gulf Coast region.  Barges are a necessary part of maritime commerce, but also run the risk of impacting the life of a victim who has been involved in an accident. Contact our Texas offices today for your initial free consultation.

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