Maritime Casualty News August 2021

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NTSB releases latest Safer Seas Digest
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its most recent Safer Seas Digest offering key insights and lessons from major maritime casualties.

The 2020 report covers 42 maritime incidents from last year that involved significant property damage or loss of life. The report provides lessons learned from each case, including the fire aboard the dive boat Conception that claimed 34 lives and the collision involving the destroyer USS Fitzgerald that resulted in seven deaths.

“These tragedies remind us that whether we are serving in the nation’s armed forces, scuba diving for recreation, fishing on a trawler, or sustaining maritime commerce, we are all reliant on safety measures that must be in place before we step aboard,” NTSB Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy said. “Mariners can use the lessons learned in the Safer Seas Digest to prevent future accidents and owners and operators can use it to help ensure a culture of safety at sea.”

The report can be viewed here.


Dredge barge capsizes at Charleston marina
A dredge barge with up to 1,000 gallons of fuel on board capsized and sank at a Charleston, S.C., marina.

The 120-foot Capt. Leo II overturned at 0334 on Aug. 4 at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina. No one was on the barge when the incident occurred.

Crews from Marcol Dredging Co. placed boom around the barge, which ended up on its side. It is not clear how much fuel escaped from the vessel.

Additional details on the incident can be found here.

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U.S. Coast Guard photo

Casualty flashback: August 1950

The hospital ship USS Benevolence approached San Francisco Bay in dense fog when it collided with the merchant ship Mary Luckenbach. Within 20 minutes the U.S. Navy ship had sunk, taking the lives of 31 sailors and civilian personnel.

The 520-foot ship was built in 1943 at Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock near Philadelphia before being converted to a hospital ship a year later. It had up to 802 beds and a crew complement of nearly 550 people. The ship supported military campaigns in the Pacific Theater and was in Tokyo Harbor for surrender of Japan that ended World War II.

The ship was returning to San Francisco following sea trials on Aug. 25 when the collision occurred at about 1700. More than 500 people were on board at the time.

The ship’s commanding officer, Bill Murray, was among those who died during the incident.

More about USS Benevolence can be found here.

By Professional Mariner Staff