Prior to major changes effective November 27, 1972,' the jurisprudence under the 1927 Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act 2 had developed a well-defined system for dealing with injuries to employees covered by that statute. Three entities are routinely involved in such injuries: the vessel in connection with which the victim was working at the time of his injury; the independent contractor hired by the vessel to load, unload, repair, or perform some other service to the vessel; and the injury victim himself, who is an employee of the independent contractor. It is customary to refer to these three entities as "shipowner," "stevedore," and "longshoreman," respectively. These terms are imprecise, because in many instances the injured employee will be some other kind of maritime worker than a longshoreman, such as a ship's repairman. In such instances, of course, the independent contractor who is the victim's employer will not be a "stevedore" but some other kind of maritime employer. Furthermore, the vessel itself may be sued in tort in rem, and it may be in the control of a charterer or other operator rather than the actual owner. But the terms "longshoreman," "stevedore" and "shipowner" are commonly used in the decisions and other literature in the sense used here: to refer to any covered employee, his employer, and the tort defendant.
Robertson, David W.
"Jurisdiction, Shipowner Negligence and Stevedore Immunities under the 1972 Amendments to the Longshoremen's Act,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 28:
2, Article 11.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol28/iss2/11