Coast Guard to hold formal hearing on Eagle Otome oil spill

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
Coast Guard to hold formal hearing on tank ship incident
What: The Coast Guard will hold a formal hearing to receive testimony concerning the collision between the Eagle Otome and the Dixie Vengeance in Port Arthur, Texas. The hearing will be open to the public but seating is limited.

The Coast Guard is investigating the incident to develop conclusions and recommendations that improve vessel and waterway safety. The facts collected at this hearing along with the lead investigator’s conclusions and recommendations will be forwarded to Coast Guard Eighth District in New Orleans and Coast Guard Headquarters for approval. Once approved the final investigative report will be made available to the public. No analysis or conclusions will be presented during the hearing. The National Transportation and Safety Board will generate an independent report on this incident.

When: March 9, 2010, 9 a.m.

Where: Holiday Inn Park Central, 2929 Jimmy Johnson Blvd., Port Arthur, TX 77642. If not concluded by March 12, the hearing venue will shift March 15 to the first floor district courtroom in the Beaumont Federal Courthouse, 300 Willow Street, Suite 116, Beaumont, Texas, 77701.

Who: Coast Guard marine investigators have recalled the master and some crewmembers from the Eagle Otome, two Sabine pilots involved in the incident, the captain and one crewmember of the Dixie Vengeance and members of the Port Arthur Vessel Traffic Service to obtain additional details of events leading up to the accident. The president of the Sabine Pilots and the chairman of the Jefferson and Orange County Board of Pilot Commissioners will also testify.

Facts known to date: The tank ship Eagle Otome was inbound Jan. 23, 2010, when it struck the ship Gull Arrow, which was moored at the Port of Port Arthur. The Eagle Otome then collided with the first of two barges being pushed by the tug Dixie Vengeance. Both ships, the barge and the pier at the Port of Port Arthur sustained significant damage. The cargo tank closest to the bow of the Eagle Otome was damaged, resulting in the spilling of more than 400,000 gallons of oil. Two Sabine Pilots were aboard at the time of the incident. Four shore-based dockworkers on the Gull Arrow have reported injuries.

By Professional Mariner Staff