Maritime Casualty News, October 2019

Crewman dies in fall inside Tenn-Tom lock

Authorities are investigating the death of a towboat crewman who fell from a barge and was killed in the Sonny Montgomery Lock on the Tennessee-Tombigbee (Tenn-Tom) Waterway.

The victim, identified as Jacob Pearson, 28, of Arcadia, La., was working aboard an unidentified Marquette Transportation towboat moving through the lock structure when he fell overboard and was crushed between the barge and the lock wall. The vessels were transiting north at the time.

The incident occurred at about 1100 on Sept. 26, according to the Itawamba Times newspaper in Mississippi. The cause has not been released.

Bulker grounds, takes on water in St. Lawrence River

A Great Lakes bulk carrier ran aground in the St. Lawrence River near Galop Island, N.Y., and began taking on water, forcing authorities to temporarily suspend navigation on the waterway.

The 740-foot self-unloading Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was downbound to Quebec City with a load of iron ore when it hit bottom outside the channel 14 miles north of Ogdensburg, N.Y. The grounding occurred on the evening of Oct. 6. 

The Canada-flagged Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin flooded at a slow rate after the accident, and its pumps kept up with the water, the U.S. Coast Guard said. No injuries were reported on the ship operated by Canada Steamship Lines. 

The salvage plan called for roughly 5,000 tons of iron ore to be offloaded into waiting barges to assist with the refloating, which was completed on Oct. 12. The cause of the incident has not been released.

White smoke spotted from overturned vehicle carrier

Authorities have “stabilized” the source of white smoke coming from the overturned vehicle carrier Golden Ray in St. Simons Sound, Ga., the Coast Guard said. 

The Unified Command that formed in response to the capsizing reported on Oct. 20 that white smoke was coming from the ship, which is lying on its port side. A salvage tugboat equipped with firefighting equipment doused the ship. Authorities did not identify the source of the smoke. 

Golden Ray capsized on Sept. 8 near Brunswick, Ga., with a cargo of more than 4,000 vehicles. All 23 crew and a Brunswick pilot escaped from the ship. The final four crew were trapped inside the ship for more than 36 hours, spurring a massive rescue effort to free them. 

The 656-foot Golden Ray will be disassembled at its current location, not refloated.

NTSB releases 2018 Safer Seas Digest

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its 2018 Safer Seas Digest, highlighting lessons learned from major casualty reports released during the 2018 calendar year. 

The 84-page document offers snapshots of major incidents, including photos, key details and the probable causes for each. The digest breaks down incidents by the type of casualty and the type of vessels involved. 

Key incidents in 2018 included the Aframax River tanker allision and fire, the fire aboard the vehicle carrier Alliance St. Louis, and the grounding of the bulk carrier Nenita in the Columbia River. 

“With every investigation we conduct, the lessons that we learn can prevent future losses — when marine stakeholders at all levels of the industry apply these lessons,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt III. 

The 2018 Safer Seas Digest can be viewed here.

By Professional Mariner Staff