As stated to recover, the seamen must be working on a vessel in navigation. A vessel is considered any floating structure used as an instrument of commerce and/or intended for transportation on navigable waters. The floating structure, however, need not be engaged in transportation at the time of the incident nor must it have its own power. Navigable structures that are moored, anchored, or jacked up can still qualify as vessels.
Whether a structure is floating or engaged in transportation can be a question of the owner's intent. A drilling platform permanently affixed to the sea floor is not a vessel. However, if the drilling platform can be jacked up and moved and has been moved, it can be considered a vessel. In addition, a riverboat casino that is moored for a number of months can still be considered a vessel.
What Is Considered “in Navigation”?
In maritime law, a vessel is considered in navigation when it is engaged as an instrument of commerce and transportation on navigable waters. Once a vessel's construction has been completed and it is placed in service or commissioned, it is generally deemed to be in navigation until it is specifically taken out of navigation. A vessel that is moored undergoing repairs, even in dry dock, retains its status as being in navigation. When work is being done and a voyage is planned in the reasonably foreseeable future, the vessel is considered to be in navigation. Structures that are floating workstations that have no transportation or commercial function are not normally considered vessels.
What is a vessel:
- Boats, ships, and barges once they are commissioned and put into use even if they are in dock being worked on
- Mobile drilling barges
What is not a vessel:
- Fixed offshore platforms
- Floating work platforms
- Boats, ships, and vessels that are under construction before they are commissioned or placed into service
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