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Maritime Law Glossary T - Z

Glossary A - B | Glossary C | Glossary D - F | Glossary G - J | Glossary L -N | Glossary O - P | Glossary R - S


Tort – A civil wrong for which a remedy can be obtained. Under personal injury law, a tort can be committed with intent or negligence. A tort occurs when an actor breaches a legal duty imposed by law to persons.

Tortfeasor – One who commits a tort or civil wrong.

Towage – The act or service of towing ships and vessels, typically by a tug. A towage also refers to the charge for such a service.


Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) – A model uniform law that controls commercial transactions, including the sale of goods, secured transactions and negotiable instruments. Provisions of the UCC have been adopted in some form in every state.

Unseaworthiness - Under general maritime law, a vessel is unseaworthy if the vessel is not reasonably fit for its intended purpose. A vessel's owner or operator has an absolute duty to provide a seaworthy vessel, and this duty cannot be delegated to others. A breach of this duty gives rise to a vessel owner or operator's liability for "unseaworthiness," which is also liability that is imposed without proof of fault or negligence on the part of the vessel owner or operator. A claim for unseaworthiness can be brought by seamen, owners of goods carried by a vessel, and "Sieracki seamen," which are maritime workers who fall outside of the scope of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.


Venue – The proper place for a lawsuit to be filed and to proceed. Venue refers to the location of a court. Proper venue is a court located in a place that has some connection either with the events giving rise to the lawsuit, the plaintiff or the defendant.

Vessel – A ship, brig, sloop or other watercraft used or capable of being used to navigate on water. Under the Jones Act, a vessel is a specific legal qualification. To qualify as a vessel under the Jones Act, the structure’s purpose must be to some degree to transport passengers, cargo or equipment across navigable waters from place to place.


Wages – Remuneration or payment for labor or services, typically measured by a given period worked or by output of production.

Waiver – The voluntary relinquishment or abandonment of a legal claim or right.

Wreck Act – A federal law that places certain obligations on the part of a vessel owner when a vessel sinks. Under the Wreck Act, a vessel owner must mark the wreck and remove the wreck if it obstructs navigation. If the owner fails to remove the wreck, the Wreck Act gives the United States the right to remove the wreck and to obtain reimbursement from the vessel owner.

Wrongful Death Action – A civil action brought on behalf of a decedent’s survivors for their damages sustained from a tortious injury that caused the decedent’s death.

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