Report: Downstreaming in swift current led to fatal sinking of towboat


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

(WASHINGTON) — About 0755 local time on May 30, 2015, the uninspected towing vessel Miss Natalie collided with the tow of the uninspected towing vessel George W Banta while Miss Natalie was attempting to remove one of the tow’s barges. Shortly afterward, Miss Natalie capsized and sank on the Lower Mississippi River in Romeville, La. Four of the five crewmembers escaped, but one deck hand died. The vessel sustained an estimated $1.8 million in damages, rendering it a constructive total loss. No pollution was reported.

Probable cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the sinking of the towing vessel Miss Natalie was its captain’s decision to downstream on a line-haul tow given the prevailing conditions. Contributing to the sinking was the George W Banta tow moving ahead as Miss Natalie approached rather than holding its position in the river.

Click here to view the complete report.

By Professional Mariner Staff