23 September 2005

Commercial diver sues firm for injuries received; air supply turned off

A commercial deep-sea diver sued on Wednesday two boat companies over injuries he sustained while performing underwater work off the Apra Harbor on Guam.

John Brady Barrineau claimed that someone aboard the M/V Cajun turned off the air supply to which he was hooked to while he was cleaning the hull of another boat underwater.

Defendant Cabras Marine Corp. owns M/V Cajun, while co-defendant Promarine Technology operates it. Barrineau's attorneys, William M. Fitzgerald and Bruce Berline, said that PMT was contracted to clean the hull of the M/V Cpl. Louis J. Hauge, Jr. earlier this year.

The attorneys said the M/V Cajun's mission was to transport Barrineau, a Saipan resident, and others to and from the M/V Hauge each day while the maintenance work was being completed. The Cajun served as Barrineau's and other divers' dive station.

They said the Cajun took Barrineau to the Hauge, after which he began his work underwater, cleaning the Hauge's hull.

"Barrineau's air initiated from the dive compressor aboard the M/V Cajun and was delivered to [him] via a flexible umbilical assembly," they said. "While in the midst of scrubbing the hull, Barrineau's air supply was, suddenly and without warning, turned off completely by someone aboard the M/V Cajun."

Barrineau's complaint stated that he then began sinking below the hull until he managed to free himself from his equipment such as weight belt, diving apparatus and hydraulic scrubber. The diver began to ascend rapidly.

"During the ascent, Barrineau lost consciousness and hit his head on the hull of the ship, causing it to bleed," the complaint stated.

The incident resulted in "permanent and painful injuries of body and mind," Barrineau's attorneys said.

Besides incurring medical and related expenses, Barrineau has been prevented from enjoying the normal pleasures of life to which he was formerly accustomed, they added.

Citing several causes of action, the attorneys said the defendants breached their duty to ensure Barrineau's safety.

They asked the court to award the diver unspecified monetary damages and demanded for a jury trial.

Source: www.saipantribune.com


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