Seaman Says Drunken Captain Stranded Him


     NEW ORLEANS (CN) – A seaman who was left stranded on a rock jetty in Lake Pontchartrain during rough seas says in a lawsuit that both captains of the vessel were drunk.
     Michael Dempsey says that while he was working aboard the vessel “Todd Michael” during deteriorating weather on April 15, 2014, he advised the captains to stay in the canal and not take the boat into Lake Pontchartrain, and the captains agreed.
     “On information and belief, both captains were severely intoxicated at that time,” the lawsuit says.
     After the conversation, Dempsey went to his cabin for the night, meanwhile the captains disregarded the weather report and their conversation with Dempsey and steered the boat for Lake Pontchartrain.
     Dempsey awoke around midnight when water came through one of the vessel’s windows, according to the complaint.
     After that, the vessel got stuck on rocks and Dempsey “spent eight hours in the water being beaten by waves on the rock levee before he was rescued by the Coast Guard,” the lawsuit says.
     The Coast Guard tested all the crew members for drugs and alcohol after the incident and only Dempsey did not test positive for drugs and alcohol, Dempsey says.
     Dempsey’s lawsuit seeks damages for the crew members being drunk and disregarding weather reports, for operating recklessly and failing to avoid the collision.
     Named defendants are ABC Marine Towing LLC, Hugh Eymard Towing Co. Inc., Kirby Berg (Bourg) and Paul Schmick.
     The lawsuit was filed by Jennifer Willis of Willis & Buckley of New Orleans.
     Attorneys for the defendants could not be reached for comment.

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