Court: 'Super Scoop' is a vessel

Feb. 22, 2005 at 12:24 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday the "Super Scoop" that dug a trench beneath Boston Harbor is a "vessel" for legal purposes.

As part of a project to extend the Massachusetts Turnpike, Dutra Construction Co. used the Super Scoop to dredge the trench. At the time it was the world's largest dredge, digging a 50-foot-deep, 100-foot-wide, three-quarter-mile trench that is now the Ted Williams Tunnel.

A marine engineer was seriously injured when the Super Scoop and one of its scows collided. The injured man sued under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, which authorizes a third party to sue a "vessel" owner.

The lower courts ruled for Dutra.

In a partial victory for the injured man, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Super Scoop is a vessel, even though it has very limited means of propulsion.

An opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas reversed the lower court and ordered a new hearing. Chief Justice William Rehnquist did not take part in the case.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to DNA cell repair pioneers
Priest suspended after defending pedophilia in TV interview
U.S. asks how Islamic State militants got so many Toyotas
At least 17 dead in Carolinas, more flooding expected
NASA releases thousands of Apollo mission photos on Flickr