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Yacht Companies Sue Each Other After One Catches Fire


One yacht company is suing the other after a yacht allegedly caught fire causing the total loss of two yachts and significant damage to a third. Lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer of the solar-powered yacht blamed for the fire and a courier vessel that failed to disclose the presence of the solar-powered yacht on the voyage. The plaintiffs are hoping to recoup the costs of the damaged yachts, but they must be able to establish that the defendant’s vessel was prone to catching fire. The company that manufactured the solar powered yacht insists their vessels have no history of fire issues.

The last claim sounds unlikely, however, as newer solar-powered yachts tend to operate on lithium-ion batteries which are prone to catching fire under certain circumstances. However, the presence of a defective lithium-ion battery alone would not be enough to implicate the yacht company. Almost everything operates on lithium-ion batteries nowadays.

Lithium-ion batteries and yacht fires 

Lithium-ion batteries have been causing consumer scares for quite some time. Teslas, as an example, have a history of bursting into flames even while parked in lots. Samsung had problems with battery fires in people’s pockets related to their phones. In some cases, accidents cause lithium-ion battery fires. In at least one case, Tesla was sued after a car burst into flames and the handle-less doors failed to open, trapping their customer inside. So, the company is likely understating the issues related to lithium-ion batteries.

On the other hand, there’s no evidence that the damaged yachts did not also operate on lithium-ion batteries.

Who is responsible? 

This is where official accident investigations become important. In a case like this, it’s not apparent that the yacht company manufactured a particularly dangerous yacht. We don’t have any evidence of exploding yachts to compare against. So, the next step would be to look at the battery. If the battery was responsible for the fire, then the actual primary contributor of negligence could be the battery manufacturer and not the yacht company.

It’s a situation where the plaintiffs don’t know who to sue. So, they file a complaint against the yacht company. Meanwhile, an investigation might determine that the source of the fire was the lithium-ion battery. If so, then it’s more likely that the battery manufacturer is primarily responsible for the fire and not the yacht manufacturer.

Talk to a Miami Maritime Attorney Today

 Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford represents the interests of crew and passengers in injury, employee, and other disputes related to ships at sea. Call today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your situation in more detail.



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Michael F. Guilford, P.A.

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