Tugboat Sinks in Storm | Maritime Lawyers

Maritime industry hit a wave when the Bourbon Rhode, a tugboat that sank this past Thursday, had been traveling from the Canary Islands to Guyana.

The boat was in journeying around 1,200 nm from Martinique on September 26th when it began taking on water. The vessel was a mere 60 nm from Hurricane Lorenzo, a category 4 hurricane, when water began amassing in the rear of the boat.

Three seafarers were rescued from a lifeboat, and eleven others remained missing, until one poor soul’s body was found and recovered on Sunday by one of the five commercial vessels involved in the search and rescue operation. As recent as last night another two bodies were recovered by the frigate Ventôse. The search for the 8 seafarers, who at the time of this writing remain missing, is underway by the French Navy, utilizing a Falcon 50, French Navy surveillance frigate Ventôse and Panther helicopter, as well as aircraft from the American National Hurricane Center (NHC). The family of the deceased seafarer was immediately notified.

The French Maritime Rescue Coordination Center manager, Philippe Bricquer, was quoted saying, “We know that there were four life rafts on this ship. We found one.” Hope that the still missing seafarers commandeered one of the other three life rafts dwindles with every passing hour even as a NOAA hurricane research plane aids in the attempts to locate them.

The Bourbon Rhode, which carried a crew of fourteen, is owned by Bourbon Corp, and its CEO, Gaël Bodénès, was quoted saying, “On behalf of all Bourbon employees, I would like to pay tribute to the deceased sailors. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones, who are grieving over this dramatic event.” Bodénès continued, “Research operations are continuing on this sixth day, and the mobilization of the maritime world is unprecedented. I would like to express our gratitude to all the research teams and those who volunteered.”

The question remains – was the captain of the vessel at fault? Why did the Bourbon Rhode journey so close to Hurricane Lorenzo? Shouldn’t the captain have known better? Had the vessel been seaworthy, and, if not, are the families of the victims able to pursue damages under the maritime law?


If you or someone you know has been injured or has perished due to the negligence of a tugboat captain do NOT settle with a general negligence lawyer. Contact the towboat lawyers at O’Bryan Baun Karamanian today, ensuring that you have a team of attorneys knowledgeable in maritime law and the Jones Act to get you justice!

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