Article

NTSB investigation: Contact of tow with bridge pier linked to pilot’s ineffective actions


published on 2 March 2021 180 -

The accident location, as indicated by the red triangle.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued an investigation report on the contact of Cooperative Spirit tow with Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge Pier, on the Lower Mississippi River in March 2020.

The accident

On March 15, 2020, about 0113 local time, the towing vessel Cooperative Spirit, pushing a 29-barge tow, was transiting downstream on the Lower Mississippi River at mile 121.6 near Luling, Louisiana, when the port side of the tow struck the eastern tower pier of the Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge. The tow broke apart and began floating downriver. One of the barges sank, while the remaining barges were recovered by the Cooperative Spirit and other towing vessels in the area. No pollution or injuries were reported. Multiple barges in the tow, along with other barges moored along the river banks that were struck by drifting barges, were damaged and required repairs. Two barges were determined to be total constructive losses. The estimated cost of damages to the barges and cargo was $1.65 million.
Cooperative Spirit moored before the accident.
Cooperative Spirit moored before the accident.
Cooperative Spirit moored before the accident.
Cooperative Spirit moored before the accident.
The pilot had slept for 5–6 hours prior to the accident watch, the accident occurred close to the beginning of his watch when he would have been most alert, and he stated that he drank a cup of coffee and felt good up until the accident. Results of postaccident toxicology tests were negative. Thus, fatigue and alcohol and drug use were not considered factors in the accident.

The pilot at the helm of the Cooperative Spirit held the appropriate credentials for his position and had extensive experience maneuvering large tows on the waterway. The pilot had been involved in an accident while operating the same vessel two months prior; however, the circumstances of that accident (a collision in a bend while upbound) were significantly different.
Track of Cooperative Spirit tow as it flanked the bend at 26 Mile Point and maneuvered prior to the accident
Track of Cooperative Spirit tow as it flanked the bend at 26 Mile Point and maneuvered prior to the accident
Track of Cooperative Spirit tow as it flanked the bend at 26 Mile Point and maneuvered prior to the accident
Track of Cooperative Spirit tow as it flanked the bend at 26 Mile Point and maneuvered prior to the accident
The pilot stated that, as the tow came out of the turn at 26 Mile Point, the stern of his vessel was too close to the left descending bank, and the current was setting the tow into the bridge pier. About 3 minutes before the accident, the tow’s heading was 124 degrees, while its course over ground was 114 degrees, which is consistent with the pilot’s statement. Due to high-water conditions, the current was stronger than normal, and an eddy may have formed upriver of the bridge along the left descending bank, making maneuvering more difficult.

Although the pilot stated that he used starboard rudder and increased engine speed in an attempt to counteract the current, the video evidence showed that he used limited rudder as the tow approached the bridge. The pilot chose to primarily use increased engine speed in an effort to move the tow to starboard away from the bridge pier, stating that he “tried to outrun [the current].” However, the tow’s course over ground did not appreciably change as engine speed increased, while the increasing speed over ground reduced the time the pilot had to maneuver. Ultimately, the pilot’s actions in compensating for the strong current were ineffective, resulting in the tow hitting the bridge’s eastern tower pier.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the contact of the Cooperative Spirit tow with a pier of the Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge was the pilot not effectively compensating or the strong current while navigating a turn and approaching the bridge in high-water conditions.
What's your opinion on this?
Login or register to write comments and join the discussion!
Read more...

Article NTSB investigation: Contact of tanker with multiple vessels linked to poor bridge resource management

published on 21 December 2020

NTSB issued an investigation report on the contact of the tanker American Liberty with multiple vessels, including the Don D, African Griffon, Ever Grace, and multiple hopper barges, in Lower Mississippi River in May 2019.

1

Video Interview with a Bar Pilot 2014 (Mississippi, USA)

published on 29 October 2020

Reflections on his work on the Mississippi River (2014)

1

Video Disney Wonder - pilot boat approaches to drop off the Mississippi River boat pilot

published on 23 February 2022

Eerie fog envelops the Disney Wonder as the cruise ship enters the mouth of the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico. A pilot boat approaches to drop off the Mississippi River boat pilot.
The eerie fog made it look like the ship somehow transported to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
No sign of Captain Jack Sparrow, but he has to be hiding somewhere. Maybe he's at the Crown & Fin Pub having a tot of Navy Strength Pusser's Rum.
Video taken from deck 10 aft near the Palo restaurant.

0

Article Ship ahoy! Using AIS data

by LuxSpace Sàrl - published on 30 January 2019

How LUXSPACE uses AIS messages to monitor worldwide shipping traffic

0

Video Episode #1 - THE PROJECT

published on 3 September 2020

In this first episode, we take you along the very foundation of the NS2 project and the tailor-engineering process: a sustainable transportation solution for VIETNAM. The concept The plan The roles The challenges Find out more about our "one-stop shipping" services and transshipment solutions at Oldendorff site: http://bit.ly/OC-web #VIETNAM #oldendorffcarriers #NS2 #oc #eo #safewithus #oldendorff

0

Article Marine Accident Investigation Branch (UK): Report 2020

published on 14 June 2021

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) examines and investigates all types of marine accidents to or on board UK vessels worldwide, and other vessels in UK territorial waters. Here is the annual report of 2020.

0

Article New app: Pilot´s Tug Assist Tool PTAT - Bollard Pull Calculation for Marine Pilots

by Capt. M. Baykal Yaylai - published on 19 February 2020

Required tug power and number of tugs needed in variable conditions of wind, current and waves isin most cases an assessment made by pilots based on their professional experience. However, assessments will raise questions by lawyers if something goes wrong. They will use tools to calculate what really is needed with respect to tug power and number of tugs. They have furthermore the advantage of time.

2

Video Brazilian Training Ship Cisne Branco Strikes Bridge in Ecuador

published on 26 October 2021

This episode of What's Going On With Shipping examines the videos showing the Brazilian training ship Cisne Branco striking a bridge in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

0

Video Marine Alutech Watercat 160 Pilot

published on 16 November 2022

The first of three Watercat 160 Pilot was delivered to the Finnish Finnpilot Pilotage Ltd. in spring 2022. This PILOT boat has a self-righting ability as well as the ability to sail in surface ice of up to five centimetres thick. It can also be operated in deeper offshore waters to accommodate transfers of pilots to deeper-draught ships. The Watercat 160 Pilot can operate even in more restrictive inner harbour waters. The bow has D-type rubber fendering while the hull sides are equipped...

0

Video Being a Marine Pilot - Meet Neil Crysler, BC Coast Pilot

published on 4 July 2020

Meet Neil Crysler, a Licenced ship Pilot with the BC Coast Pilots, a company consisting of approximately 105 licensed marine pilots who work with the Pacific Pilotage Authority to keep the British Columbia Coast line safe and healthy. Neil takes pride in his fast paced life as a pilot. His work allows him to be on the water, getting large international tankers safely down our coast line. His work keeps him on his feet, sometimes sending him up the coast at a moment’s notice. Neil has found...

0