NTSB opens accident docket on 2014 Houston Ship Channel collision


The following is the text of a news release from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB):

(WASHINGTON) (April 7) — As part of its ongoing investigation into a 2014 collision in the Houston Ship Channel involving a cargo ship and a tank barge being maneuvered by a tugboat, today the National Transportation Safety Board opened its accident docket. Included in the docket, which contains more than 4,000 pages, is a summary of the accident, transcripts from interviews with crewmembers from both vessels and witnesses aboard nearby vessels, and investigative group chairman factual reports.

On March 22, 2014, at 12:35 p.m. CDT, the Summer Wind, a cargo ship traveling inbound, and an outbound two-barge tow being led by the Kirby 27706 and pushed by the towboat Miss Susan collided. The accident occurred in the connecting waterways of the Bolivar Roads Precautionary Area where the Galveston Channel, the Texas City Channel, and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway intersect with the Houston Ship Channel. 

Earlier in the day, deep-draft vessel movement was suspended due to fog in the area; however, at the time of the accident, the port was open. As a result of the accident, a double hull on the Kirby 27706 was punctured, releasing approximately 4,000 barrels (168,000 gallons) of fuel oil into the waterway. Two crewmembers on the Miss Susan suffered injuries from exposure to hydrocarbon vapor. The NTSB launched four investigators to the scene.   

This is a document release only and no interviews will be conducted. The docket can be accessed by clicking here.

Additional materials may be added to the docket as they become available. The NTSB will release its final report with the probable cause of the accident this summer. For the latest NTSB news, follow us on Twitter at @NTSB or on our website, www.ntsb.gov.

By Professional Mariner Staff