NTSB: Speed of heavy-lift ship caused it to hit destroyer

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

(WASHINGTON) — At 1012 local time on March 29, 2019, while underway and attempting to turn, the heavy-lift vessel Hawk and its oversized cargo — a floating dry dock — collided with an electrical testing barge and the destroyer Delbert D. Black, which were moored at the Ingalls Shipbuilding complex on the Pascagoula River in Pascagoula, Miss. Shipyard workers on the destroyer at the time of the accident reported minor injuries. Fifteen gallons of non-PCB mineral oil from electrical transistors on the barge were discharged into the river. Damage to the floating dry dock, barge, destroyer and the Ingalls pier was estimated at $15 million to $20 million.

Probable cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collision of the heavy-lift vessel Hawk with a docked barge and the destroyer Delbert D. Black was the speed at which the conning pilot was operating Hawk while attempting to turn and anchor in a shipyard basin.

Report excerpt

As Hawk approached the entrance to the Pascagoula River, the master warned the pilots that the vessel was slow in reducing speed and recommended reducing speed earlier. However, pilot 1 was reluctant to reduce the vessel’s engine speed over concerns that he would have less rudder control and that the vessel would be set down onto the port side of the channel. The pilot instead opted to use the tugboats made up to the stern to slow Hawk, eventually ordering back full on both tugboats. Pilot 2 told investigators that “we knew we had a speed problem before the turn” toward the Deep Hole. The vessel did not slow as pilot 1 expected, and the tugboats made up to the stern did not have enough power to sufficiently reduce Hawk’s speed prior to making the turn.

Click here to read the complete report.

By Professional Mariner Staff