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Maritime Law Glossary


Maritime law is an unfamiliar part of federal law for many citizens and attorneys alike who do not live along coastal waterways. However, if you live along the Gulf Coast or other waters, and have family members who work offshore, it is important to know the language of maritime law, as well as the different federal acts which accidents may fall within. Large accidents such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill thrust maritime law into the limelight, but it has existed for over one hundred years, and is often the only source of recovery for seamen and other offshore workers after an accident occurs. Understanding the language of maritime law is important for any offshore worker.

Admiralty law is another name for maritime law and simply refers to the federal law which governs offshore accidents.

Admiralty Jurisdiction Extension Act allows recovery against the owner of a vessel even if the injury occurs on land.

Defense Base Act is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and allows workers to recover for injuries received while employed outside of the United States.

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and allows workers in the Outer Continental Shelf to recovery for injuries received while engaged in exploratory and developmental work.

Military Sealift Command provides transportation of equipment and supplies for the United States Navy and the Department of Defense.

Public Vessels Act provides sovereign immunity for the United States when involved in accidents with public vessels.

Vessel Arrest may occur if a creditor brings an action in Admiralty Court to seize the vessel.

Barge is a flat bottom vessel used to transport goods.

Certificate of Inspection ensures that vessels are in compliance with applicable laws.

Containership is a vessel used to transport large containers.

Crew Boat is the vessel which transports the crew to a ship.

Crewmember is a worker onboard a vessel.

Hitch refers to the amount of time a seaman or offshore worker spends on land and away from the vessel.

Longshoreman is a workers who loads and unloads vessels while remaining on shore.

Seaman is a worker onboard a vessel.

Tugboat is the vessel which often tows a larger vessel such as a barge when it is unable to move easily through a narrow waterway.

Allision refers to an accident that occurs when one ship runs into a stationary object.


If you have any questions regarding maritime law or the liability for accidents occurring within maritime law, do not hesitate to contact experienced maritime law attorney Tony Malley. Tony Malley lives along the Gulf Coast and has years of experience in protecting his clients injured in offshore accidents. Maritime law is a niche area of law and is vastly different from recoveries which occur under state law. Therefore, it is important to consult with an expert who will be able to assist you in receiving the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact our Texas offices today for your initial free consultation.



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