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Dangers of the Ports of Florida

As a maintenance supervisor at Shoreline Foundation, 56-year-old Russell Rivenberg understood the dangers of harbor work. On May 23, 2013, the Loxahatchee resident kissed his wife Mary goodbye and went to work as usual.


With his company ready to begin a multimillion dollar project at the Port of Palm Beach, Rivenberg entered a barge in Slip 3 through a small hatch, becoming trapped in a small niche. It is unclear whether his co-workers were aware of the emergency. Rivenberg died at the scene. A theory that he was exposed to fatal chemical vapors was later discounted.


Mary Rivenberg remains grief-stricken and unable to get answers about why her husband died as he did. She has hired an attorney.

The ports of Florida provide essential work, services and products to Florida and the eastern portion of the United States. In 2012, Florida ranked sixth in the country for exported goods. Industry comes with a price in accidents and death like those of Mr. Rivenberg. Large equipment, containers and the continual movement on a dock create hazards that cause such injuries as:

  • Burns
  • Traumatic brain or spinal injury
  • Loss of limb or laceration
  • Death

Eligible longshore and harbor workers receive different types of compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Worker Compensation Act. You may want to speak with an attorney experienced with liability issues and dock work if your loved one goes to work one day and never returns.

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