Tanker try and overtake two-barge tow resulted in $1.9 million of harm

Written by

Nick Blenkey

CCTV footage wanting downriver exhibits the Bow Tribute when it struck a spud barge defending the r water consumption pipes. [Source: NTSB/Crosby Dredging]

The Nationwide Transportation Security Board (NTSB) has issued its report on its investigation into the March 16, 2021, grounding of the 49,662 dwt Odfjell tanker Bow Tribute and its subsequent contact with the fender techniques defending two river intakes owned by the New Orleans sewerage and water board.

The Bow Tribute was transiting downbound within the Decrease Mississippi River when it grounded whereas making an attempt to overhaul a two-barge tow in a river bend. No accidents or air pollution had been reported. Damages totaled over $1.9 million, together with $986,400 in damages to the vessel and $926,100 in damages to the fender techniques.

On board the Bow Tribute was a New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Affiliation (NOBRA) pilot and a 27-person crew. Forward of the tanker, additionally touring downbound, was the ACBL towing vessel American Means, pushing two empty barges, with a crew of 4. The NOBRA pilot and the tow boat pilot agreed the tanker would overtake the tow at 9 Mile Level, inside the Carrollton Bend. There was further site visitors within the space of the American Means, together with the downbound towboat Capt JW Banta, pushing two barges, and the upbound bulk service Purple Cosmos.

Whereas rounding 9 Mile Level forward of the Bow Tribute, the American Means tow started to slip within the bend and into the trail of the overtaking Bow Tribute. The American Means’s pilot couldn’t preserve the tow’s place within the heart of the river, nor energy or steer it out of the slide in enough time to permit house for the Bow Tribute, which was touring at double the pace of the American Means. As the gap between the vessels continued narrowing, the NOBRA pilot steered the tanker away from the American Means. The NOBRA pilot instructed investigators that he saved the vessel close to the shoreline as a result of he may now not see the American Means below the Bow Tribute’s starboard bow. Shortly after, the Bow Tribute struck, sequentially, two spud barges that had been a part of a fender system defending the river consumption pipes.

Positions of the Bow Tribute, American Means, Capt JW Banta and Purple Cosmos within the Carrollton Bend within the minutes main as much as the casualty, primarily based on automated identification system information. The Bow Tribute’s subsequent contact on the two river intakes can be recognized. [Source: NTSB]

You actually need to learn the complete NTSB report back to get the blow-by-blow account of what occurred.

Right here’s an extract

“Because the NOBRA pilot ordered the engine to full astern, the grasp of the Bow Tribute arrived on the bridge and recalled seeing the Bow Tribute was so near the financial institution that there was just one path to show, to starboard, however the American Means was shut on the starboard facet and subsequently in the way in which. At 1521:45, the sound of vibrations could possibly be heard on the bridge from the ship’s voyage information recorder, and on closed- circuit TV (CCTV) cameras positioned on the left descending financial institution, the strict of the Bow Tribute could possibly be seen momentarily interacting with the financial institution (grounding) and its stern rising out of the water whereas the vessel was touring about 10.3 knots. The tanker continued alongside the left descending financial institution with about 21 knots of wind on its starboard facet. The NOBRA pilot on the Bow Tribute, not eager to collide with the American Means, instructed investigators that he saved the vessel close to the shoreline as a result of he may now not see the American Means below the Bow Tribute’s starboard bow.

CCTV footage wanting downriver at 1522:26 exhibits the Bow Tribute when it struck the spud barge defending the New River water consumption pipes. [Source: Crosby Dredging]

“Seconds later, at 1522:26, the port facet of the Bow Tribute struck a spud barge moored at mile 104.1 for the New River water consumption system owned by the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. The barge was a part of a fender system to guard the river consumption pipes. After being struck, the barge broke free from its spuds and moorings and drifted downriver. The NOBRA pilot on the tanker issued a collection of rudder orders to port and starboard and, at 1522:38, ordered the starboard anchor let go, seeing the American Means was not liable to being beneath the Bow Tribute’s starboard anchor. The second officer relayed the order to the bosun on the bow, who let go the starboard anchor directly.

“The American Means, which the captain had steered away from the bend towards the middle of the river, slowed as soon as it was away from the Bow Tribute to take care of a secure distance from the Capt JW Banta. With the Capt JW Banta nonetheless forward, the American Means continued downbound towards its supposed vacation spot.

“At 1525, because the Bow Tribute slowed within the bend with its starboard anchor paying out, the tanker struck one other protecting spud barge, which was positioned on the Oak Road water consumption at mile 103.8, about 1,500 ft downriver from the New River water consumption. A few minute later, the NOBRA pilot ordered the engine to be stopped. At 1527, with the NOBRA pilot ordering the anchor held at 7 photographs within the water (630 ft), the Bow Tribute started to show round and face upriver.”


​The NTSB decided the possible reason for the accident was the tanker pilot’s choice to overhaul a tow in a big river bend occupied by a number of vessels throughout high-river circumstances with a powerful following present. Contributing to the grounding was the ineffective communication between the pilot of the Bow Tribute and the pilot of the towing vessel American Means relating to the place the overtaking maneuver would happen.

“Clear, efficient, and unambiguous radio communications ought to be used, particularly throughout excessive site visitors and dynamic circumstances resembling overtaking in a bend,” the report stated.

Obtain the NTSB report

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