NTSB determines cause of grounding of tanker in New Orleans

Apr 21 2022

The decision to overtake a tow in a large river bend occupied by multiple vessels during high-river conditions led to the grounding of a tanker and contact with river intake fender systems in New Orleans, Louisiana, the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday.

Marine Investigation Report 22/11 details the NTSB’s investigation into the March 16, 2021, grounding of the tanker Bow Tribute and subsequent contact with the fender systems protecting two river intakes owned by the city’s sewerage and water board. The Bow Tribute was transiting downbound in the Lower Mississippi River when the vessel grounded while attempting to overtake a two-barge tow in a river bend. No injuries or pollution were reported. Damages totaled over $1.9 million, including $986,400 in damages to the vessel and $926,100 in damages to the fender systems. 


On board the Bow Tribute was a New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association (NOBRA) pilot and a 27-person crew. Ahead of the tanker, also traveling downbound, was the towing vessel American Way pushing two empty barges with a crew of four. The two pilots agreed the tanker would overtake the tow at Nine Mile Point, within the Carrollton Bend. There was additional traffic in the area of the American Way, including the downbound towboat Capt JW Banta pushing two barges and the upbound bulk carrier Red Cosmos. 


While rounding Nine Mile Point ahead of the Bow Tribute, the American Way tow began to slide in the bend and into the path of the overtaking Bow Tribute. The American Way's pilot could not maintain the tow's position in the center of the river, nor power or steer it out of the slide in sufficient time to allow space for the Bow Tribute, which was traveling at double the speed of the American Way. As the distance between the vessels continued narrowing, the NOBRA pilot steered the tanker clear of the American Way. The NOBRA pilot on the Bow Tribute told investigators that he kept the vessel near the shoreline because he could no longer see the American Way under the Bow Tribute's starboard bow. Shortly after, the Bow Tribute struck sequentially two spud barges that were part of a fender system protecting the river intake pipes.


The NTSB determined the probable cause was the pilot’s decision to overtake a tow in a large river bend occupied by multiple vessels during high-river conditions with a strong following current. Contributing to the grounding was the ineffective communication between the pilot of the Bow Tribute and the pilot of the towing vessel American Way regarding where the overtaking maneuver would occur. 


“Clear, effective, and unambiguous radio communications should be used, especially during high traffic and dynamic conditions such as overtaking in a bend,” the report said. 



Related News

KR awards Type Approval for direct CO2 measurement system on vessels

(May 12 2022)

Korean Register (KR) has awarded Singapore-based Marine Technology Solution Pte Ltd a Type Approval certificate for their direct and continuous CO2 emission measurement system called CARBON LENS.

PETRONAS Marine and Titan LNG partner again for another successful STS

(Apr 14 2022)

World-leading independent alternative fuels supplier, Titan LNG has partnered with PETRONAS Marine – the marine solutions arm of energy multinational, PETRONAS, to deliver LNG under a Term Supply Agreement to VLCC Yuan Rui Yang, chartered by Koch Ind...

‘Ammonia Prepared’ class notation for Geogas LPG carriers ordered at HMD

(Mar 17 2022)

Bureau Veritas (BV), a world leader in testing, inspection, and certification, is supporting the classification and construction at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) in the Republic of Korea of two 40,000 cbm LPG carriers that will be ‘ammonia prepared’.

IRS CAP certification of VLCCs and LPGs of MOL

(Mar 03 2022)

Indian Register of Shipping has successfully completed Condition Assessment Programme (CAP) certification of four vessels of MOL Tankship Management Pte. Ltd., Singapore.

UN says agreement in principle on Yemen tanker oil transfer

(Feb 17 2022)

An agreement has been reached in principle on a U.N.-coordinated proposal that would transfer more than 1 million barrels of crude oil from a tanker that has been moored off the coast of war-torn Yemen since the 1980s to another ship.

Apr-May 2024

How TotalEnergies is decarbonising its shipping - Ardmore''s choice of VP technologies