Monday, September 9, 2013

Captain sues marine company for exposure to toxic fumes

Chemical exposure ruined health and future, seaman alleges

Health and safety lawsuits can be
expensive for employers.
Comal County resident Paul Whetstone seeks more than $1 million in damages from a marine company he claims exposed him to toxic chemicals.

He was ordered to repair his ship after the Ashton T ran aground on the Galveston north jetty in March 2012. Whetstone was first captain of the vessel.

Whetstone claims that he had to work “in a closed environment with little or no ventilation and ingested fumes and vapors from paint, polyurethane, welding gasses and other toxic and harmful substances in the air.”

Whetstone filed a Jones Act lawsuit against T&T Offshore Inc. and T&T Marine Inc. in Galveston County District Court.

In his suit, Whetstone claims he now wears a pacemaker following the incident last year in which “his heart and entire central nervous system shut down and he died.” Whetstone was revived and stabilized shortly afterwards, but rendered unable to work again, the suit says.

Seaman now requires pacemaker because of ship’s toxic fumes, court papers say

He also claims that he was made to eat and sleep “in this environment” and not allowed to leave the Ashton T.

Whetstone claims he requested adequate protection from “such harmful and deadly fumes, vapors and metals in the air” to no avail.

He was released from duty on April 28, 2012, and Whetstone states he was taken to San Antonio’s Baptist Hospital where surgeons installed the pacemaker.

According to the suit, the pacemaker “has permanently prevented the plaintiff from performing any form of work activity in the maritime and aviation fields because he is no longer qualified to maintain his ship captain and aviation license(s).”

A jury trial is requested.

Source: Southeast Texas Record

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