NTSB: Loss of engine control led to San Jacinto bridge strike

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

(WASHINGTON) — At 1316 local time on Feb. 11, 2019, the towing vessel Lindberg Crosby, with a crew of four, suffered a loss of engine control and struck the Interstate 10 (I-10) bridge while attempting to dock an empty tank barge at the nearby Southwest Shipyard dock on the San Jacinto River in Channelview, Texas. No pollution or injuries were reported. Damage to the bridge and barge was estimated at $1,595,887.

Probable cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the towing vessel Lindberg Crosby contacting a pier column of the Interstate 10 bridge was the undetected loss of starboard engine directional control due to a separation of the control system mechanical linkage to the pneumatic gear clutch, resulting in the engine not shifting in response to the operator’s commands.

Report excerpt

Ensuring jam nuts and locking devices are secured

Many vessels use mechanical linkages to transmit control commands to critical machinery. Operators of vessels using adjustable linkages that include jam nuts, locking nuts, or other devices should frequently examine the position of the nuts on shafts to verify their security and develop procedures to effectively ensure critical control system components are included in preventative maintenance programs. Component and control system manufacturers should provide guidance/options for passively securing jam nuts, such as locking wire, locking washers, securing tabs, thread-locking insert materials, thread-locking fluid, or other means.

Click here to read the complete report.

By Professional Mariner Staff