NTSB cites wind, fouled rudder in Louisiana bridge allision

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

(WASHINGTON) — The uninspected towing vessel (UTV) Bayou Lady was pushing a flotilla of six empty hopper barges destined for a scrap yard in Morgan City, Louisiana, when the forward portside barge struck the southern fixed section of the pontoon Bayou Blue Bridge near Houma, La., about 0630 on Dec. 7, 2013. Repairs to the bridge are estimated at more than $715,000. The Bayou Lady was undamaged; the lead barge sustained minor damage which was deemed inconsequential due to its destination for scrap. No injuries or pollution resulted from the accident.

Probable cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the allision of the Bayou Lady tow with Bayou Blue Bridge was the decision of the captain to transit the bridge opening in windy conditions and the reported temporary loss of steering control after the rudder was fouled by submerged debris.

Click here to read the full report.

By Professional Mariner Staff