Port of Houston board clears pilot of responsibility for bulk carrier collision














The following is the text of a news release from Marketwired:

(HOUSTON) — The Port of Houston's Pilot Board Investigation Recommendation Committee (PBIRC) by a vote of 8-0 has cleared the Houston Pilot aboard the bulk carrier M/V Summer Wind of any responsibility for the March 22 collision with the tow/barge Miss Susan near Texas City where the Houston Ship Channel and Intracoastal Waterway intersect, said Capt. Michael A. Morris, presiding officer of the Houston Pilots.

At an Oct. 6 hearing, retired U.S. Navy captain and marine safety expert Brian Boyce presented a digital reconstruction of the collision that he said shows a series of maneuvers made by the Miss Susan resulted in the collision. "The Miss Susan was obliged not to impede the passage of the Summer Wind," added Boyce. The captain in command of the Miss Susan declined the PBIRC's request to appear and testify.

The PBIRC is composed of nine maritime professionals who collectively possess more than 300 years of experience in deep-draft ships and inland tugs and tows. The members include three former U.S. Coast Guard officers, among them two former captains of the Port of Houston. The members possess intimate and unique knowledge in all facets of the Houston Ship Channel.

"The PBIRC performed as it was intended," said Morris. "Without question, the PBIRC is the best equipped authority for investigating and making recommendations on any incidents involving the Houston Pilots and Houston Ship Channel."

Separate investigations into the collision by the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are continuing.

The Houston Pilots are state licensed pilots responsible for safely guiding ships and vessels through the Houston Ship Channel. The pilots handle more than 20,000 transits each year on the busiest waterway in the nation. 

By Professional Mariner Staff