NTSB: Captain of sunken tugboat knowingly operated with hull breach

The following is a marine accident brief from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB):

Executive summary

About 1200 on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, the uninspected towing vessel Jim Marko sank at mile marker 181.6 on the Upper Mississippi River, near St. Louis, Mo. At the time, the vessel was transiting upriver with a crew of four to a barge fleeting area near Venice, Ill., immediately northeast across the river from St. Louis. No one was injured in the accident; however, the sinking resulted in damage exceeding the insured value of the vessel, and an undetermined amount of oil was released into the river.

Probable cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the sinking of towing vessel Jim Marko was the captain’s decision to continue operations with a known hull breach in the vicinity of the vessel’s waterline. Contributing to the rapid sinking was a lack of watertight integrity due to watertight doors on the main deck left open while under way.

Click here to read the complete report.

By Professional Mariner Staff