NTSB: Improper autopilot disengagement led ITB to strike cutter

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

Executive summary

The integrated tug and barge Krystal Sea/Cordova Provider with four crewmembers on board was maneuvering to dock at the Alaska Marine Lines pier in Cordova, Alaska, when the bow ramp of the barge struck the moored U.S. Coast Guard cutter Sycamore at the adjacent pier at 0616 on Sunday, July 28, 2013. The Sycamore, with 11 crewmembers on board, suffered about $244,000 in damage. The Cordova Provider’s bow ramp sustained about $5,000 in damage. No injuries or pollution were reported.

Probable cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the allision of the integrated tug and barge Krystal Sea/Cordova Provider with the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Sycamore was the loss of directional control of one of two azimuthing stern drive propulsion units during an unsuccessful attempt by the Krystal Sea’s new captain to transfer from autopilot to manual control while approaching the intended dock. Contributing to the accident was the lack of function-testing of manual steering and propulsion control after disengaging the autopilot at a distance from the dock sufficient to allow time for corrective action.

Click here to view the complete report.

By Professional Mariner Staff