Hector V. Pazos, P.E.
P.O. Box 47188
St. Petersburg, FL 33743-7188
T: (727) 347-2556
Fax: (727) 343-9717
Cell Phone: (727) 698-2556 (24/7)
3501 Holiday Drive, Suite #314
New Orleans, LA, 70114
Cell Phone: (504) 367-4072 (24/7)
Fax: (504) 367-3790
, is a Registered Professional Engineer, Naval Architect, Marine Engineer, Marine Accident Investigator and Expert Witness
. For the past 39 years, Mr. Pazos has been retained to assist lawyers, insurance companies and owners regarding technical matters in a substantial number of litigations (over 1,200). He has made surveys and inspections, prepared reports and / or testified by deposition and in court in more than 400 cases.
Areas of Expertise Include
- Power and Sail Pleasure Boats
- Passenger and Cargo Vessels
- Offshore Platforms
- Drilling Rigs
- Fishing Vessels
- Floating Cranes
- Damages to Docks
- Slip and Fall
- Inclined and Vertical Ladders
- Fires and Explosions
- Diving Accidents
- Noise and / or Vibration
- Accident Reconstruction
- Product Liability
- Equipment Failure
- Structural Failure
- Latent Defects
- Vessel Safety and Seaworthiness
- Aquatics / Recreation
- Design / Construction Defects
- Cause of Vessel Sinking
- Vessel Stability
- Salvage of Vessels
- Engine and Steering Damage
- Personal Injury / Safety
A "gauger" employed by an oil production company was going by boat to different well locations to get the wells flowing. In other words, although he was performing oil field related activities, he was a seaman and the gauger was employed in consideration of his seamanship abilities because to perform the duties required by his employment he was obligated to spend the majority of his time aboard vessels and/or on marine structures and operate vessels without assistance regardless of weather or water conditions.
Wakes are moving waves created by a boat or vessel when advancing across the water. A ship moving through the water is accompanied by at least three "pressure disturbances" on each side, which produces several trains of waves. This wave system is characterized by: a). divergent waves; b). transverse waves; and c). a line of crest intersections (cusps) where the divergent and transverse waves meet.
During a very nice seven-day cruise on a large passenger vessel in the Caribbean, a lady passenger decided to use a coin operated laundry room, available aboard the vessel, which was available to the passengers. The washers and dryers were heavy-duty stackable units, with the washers resting on the deck or floor of the laundry room, and the dryers mounted on a steel frame just above the washers. After drying the clothes just washed, the passenger was pulling clothes out of one dryer when the dryer fell on her resulting in serious injures.
The accident took place in an open ocean anchorage area (blue water) off the coast of Colombia, about 5 miles offshore. At this location, bulk carrier vessels are moored to buoys and floating cranes are used to transfer coal from barges to the oceangoing bulk carriers.
Some types of accidents are well known because despite of the continuous efforts to reduce them, they continue happening, such as slip and fall accidents. Others are less common but are easy to prevent or to minimize their consequences. The following is a sample of an offshore accident that could have easily been prevented.
A lady passenger aboard a cruise ship was walking in the proximity of the Purser's desk, in a "Public Space" (interior passageway), when she tripped and fell to the floor hitting also a fire control door, sustaining serious injuries. The fall was caused by tripping on a large metallic fire screen door threshold, which was protruding substantially above the carpeted floor
The boat accident described below, resulting in the death of two occupants, presented the challenge of determining who of the four occupants of the boat was the driver at the time of the accident, and what was the seating position of each occupant.
Crew boats are such relative simple marine equipment that it appears that the possibility of accidents unrelated to machinery should be very remote.
This is a sample of numerous accidents investigated by the author of this article. The assistant driller on a Jack-up Rig owned and/or operated by an Offshore company, was performing various tasks on the drilling floor, when, one of the floor hands (roustabout) had to leave the drilling floor and the assistant driller replaced him.
This 48-foot 66 MPH luxury power cruiser was beautiful inside and outside, but during trials and during the test ride, a squeaking "humming noise" was noticed in the proximity of the icemaker cabinet door. The frame of the cabinet door was attached to the hull and the salesman convinced the potential buyer that the noise would disappear after the boat was operated a few hundred miles. According to the salesman, there were built-in residual stresses that will be released by operating the boat with motions and slamming for several hours. The boat was sold despite of the squeaking.
The task of transferring personnel to and from offshore facilities to crew boats or offshore supply boats, as well as transferring personnel between boats has been accomplished for many years utilizing personnel transfer nets and personnel transfer baskets. Despite of the continuous efforts to improve he designs and operating procedures to eliminate identifiable hazards, accidents such as the ones described below are not uncommon.
The spine is a sensitive mechanism. Certain lifting or equivalent to lifting actions can cause irreversible damage that can lead to permanent injury.
The following is a typical type of accident due to Manufacturing Defects. Manufacturing Design Defect and U.S.C.G. Recall Campaigns: A boat or item of associated equipment is subject to a safety recall if it fails to comply with Coast Guard Safety standards or contains a defect that creates a substantial risk of personal injury.
Because the exposure to the marine and offshore environments, slips and falls are a significant source of personal injuries on floating vessels and offshore equipment, probably the rate of personal injuries due to slip and falls in a marine environment is substantially greater than most industry groups.
Low transverse stability was reported on this vessel prior to the accident, but no action was taken to investigate the cause of the low stability.
TYPICAL CASE IN WHICH LACK OF ATTENTION TO SMALL DEFICIENCIES RESULTED IN A MAJOR DISASTER:
After inspecting more than 100 marine stairways, in which accidents occurred, we found several deficiencies in the steps and handrails of stairs that are consistently repeated.
This accident happened in a large compartment of an Offshore Supply Vessel (OSV), which, because of lack of appropriate ventilation and toxic atmosphere it should have been treated as a confined space.
Gasoline is very dangerous. This explosion left two people with very serious injuries and destroyed the boat.
The majority of accidents involve personal injuries and/or fatalities, although the strong and continuous improvement in the field of accident prevention is resulting in a constant reduction of the number of marine related fatalities.
The M/V Salvador Allende capsized and sunk on or about December 9, 1994, in the Atlantic Ocean, with the loss of almost the entire crew. Only two (2) members of the crew survived, the third engineer, Mr. Alexander Tarenov, and the second mate, Mr. Ivan Skiba.
An experienced Marine Surveyor was in the process of inspecting the cargo in one of the holds of a bulk carrier. He was climbing out of the hold using a vertical ladder, which terminated in an access hatch of approximately 25" x 25
There are numerous public records of self-actuated transmission accidents for both automobiles and boats. However, record-keeping practices does not identify most of the marine incidents of self-actuated transmissions