A man who was killed while cleaning the hull of a mega yacht at the Old Port Cove marina in North Palm Beach leaves behind two young daughters, including a 6-month old newborn. The family is mourning the loss of Luis Alberto Gorgonio-Ixba this week, who was only 34 years old.
Mr. Gorgonio-Ixba was reportedly cleaning the underside of a yacht hull when someone or something inexplicably turned on the ship’s bow thrusters. Hull cleanings are specialized work that is performed by a submerged diver. Bow thrusters are engine-propellers installed on either side of the yacht’s beam, which help the massive ship to maneuver in tight spaces.
Bow thrusters suck in water from one side, to push the boat in the opposite direction.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is investigating the deadly accident, which could take weeks to furnish a final report. In the meantime, Mr. Gorgonio-Ixba’s family is left to grieve his sudden and tragic loss.
Who is responsible for the tragic death of Luis Alberto Gorgonio-Ixba?
The Coast Guard was called to Old Port where a 163′ super yacht named Honey was docked. It’s not clear from news reports which vessel Mr. Gorgonio-Ixba was working on, but video of the scene shows paramedics and other first-responders next to Honey.
Honey is registered to a Connecticut limited-liability company controlled by the CEO of a billion-dollar privately-owned food distributor.
Owners of super yachts such as Honey typically moor their massive vessels at ports and marinas all over the world. When not in use by the owner, they are commonly chartered by others. The owner of the vessels pays dockage fees to the marina, but it is not clear if Mr. Gorgonio-Ixba was an employee of the marina, or an employee of the crew that works on Honey.
Most common, hull cleaners are sub-contractors of companies that are hired to care for a vessel.
There are several liability factors to consider in a sad and complicated Wrongful Death case such as this. First, the owner of the marina could be held liable for not providing adequate safety measures for companies that contract to do business on their premises.
Liability may also be bore by the owner of the company that hired Mr. Gorgonio-Ixba to perform the hull cleaning work, and/or the crew members, if such crew member was found to be responsible as having operated the bow thrusters in the moment he was killed.
Lastly, the owner of the vessel may be held personally liable for the tragedy. In any of these situations, insurance coverage would most likely be available for the surviving family to pursue.
Safety in the water should be observed at all times, especially while a man or woman is working in or around any propellers or engine components at a marina. This was an avoidable and terrible tragedy that should not have occurred if proper safety standards and procedures were followed.
If you or someone you know was killed while working in or around a marina, please call our law firm for a free consultation. We may be able to help the surviving family recover for their pain and suffering, and future lost wages.