ATB hits OSV that had turned broadside in Port Arthur channel


Roughly 3,000 gallons of marine diesel spilled from an offshore supply vessel following a collision with an articulated tug-barge near Sabine Pass, Texas.

The collision between the ATB Mariya Moran/Texas with the OSV Cheramie Bo Truc 22 occurred at about 0400 on Nov. 14 roughly 1.5 miles inside the Port Arthur jetty channel. Coast Guard spokesman Tyler Otabara said Cheramie Bo Truc 22 was broadside to the channel just before the collision. There were no injuries reported.

“The OSV, since it is smaller, has a little more maneuverability within the channel,” said Otabara, who is also an investigator with Marine Safety Unit Port Arthur. “They were able to turn and maneuver in such a way that they ended up sideways to the channel, and that is when they ended up colliding” with the ATB.

Otabara said his office is trying to determine why the OSV ended up in the ATB’s path. The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating the incident.

The 6,000-hp Mariya Moran and 161,000-barrel petroleum barge Texas were inbound within the Port Arthur jetty channel when they approached the outbound Cheramie Bo Truc 22. The two vessels had some radio contact before the collision, according to the Coast Guard, which is trying to piece together those communications.

As the two vessels prepared to meet within the channel, the 180-foot Cheramie Bo Truc 22 ended up in the ATB’s path. Otabara said it is unusual but not unprecedented for vessels to turn around in the channel. It is not clear if that is what the OSV was doing at the time. The ATB crew had little warning and was not able to avoid the collision.

“From what we understand it all happened pretty quick, and so as far as we know there was minimal evasive action other than backing down,” Otabara said of the ATB crew.

Texas struck Cheramie Bo Truc 22 on its port side, roughly amidships, breaching the OSV’s hull above and below the waterline. At least one fuel tank also breached, allowing an estimated 3,000 gallons of diesel to enter the waterway. Texas did not breach, although it did sustain minor hull damage, the Coast Guard said. The ATB was traveling lightship at the time.

The OSV remained anchored outside the navigation channel while oil spill response teams placed boom around the vessel and applied sorbents to remove fuel at the surface. It’s not clear how much fuel crews recovered through these efforts. Cheramie Bo Truc 22 transited under its own power, with a tugboat escort, to a nearby dock a day after the collision.

AIS data shows both vessels had departed the Sabine Pass region less than two weeks later. It’s not clear what repairs Cheramie Bo Truc 22 underwent before departure. The Coast Guard referred additional questions about vessel damage to the respective operators.

L&M Botruc Rental of Galliano, La., owner and operator of the 2,000-hp, 44-year-old OSV, did not respond to a request for comment. Moran Towing, owner of the 4-year-old ATB, declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

By Professional Mariner Staff