2019 Mississippi River Tanker Accident Caused by Poor Management, MiscommunicationPage Visited: 7
A fully loaded tanker on the Mississippi River near Reserve, La., caused $40.5 million in damage when it plowed into moored vessels, barges and infrastructure along the river in May 2019, federal transportation safety officials say.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says the probable cause of the accident involving the product tanker American Liberty “was poor bridge resource management and miscommunication between the pilot and the master.”
In a report released Dec. 17, the NTSB said the poor management and miscommunication “led to the bridge team’s delay in carrying out an engine order and caused a delay in the vessel attaining sufficient speed to conduct an undocking maneuver in high river conditions. Contributing to the accident was the decision to release the assisting tugs before the undocking maneuver was completed.”
“The accident happened while the river was at major flood stage with the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, gage reading 43.6 feet and the Bonnet Carré Spillway at mile 128 reopened six days before the accident. The current was 6.2 knots.
“The American Liberty was on its normal route, loading petroleum cargo at the Marathon Petroleum Garyville, Louisiana, Dock No. 2, and sailing to Tampa Bay, Florida. There were 23 crewmembers aboard,” the NTSB reported.
One serious and three minor injuries, and no pollution were reported as a result of the May 16, 2019, incident. The damage to vessels, barges, and terminals after the when the bridge team lost control of the vessel was reported at $40.5 million, the NTSB said.
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