Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/665311
51 Spring 2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings developed, well understood, and, most importantly, well followed. To ensure the safety of people, the environment, and property, periodic reviews are necessary, as are atten- tion to the lessons learned from previous operations and the changing risks associated with vessel operations. Since the time of the NTSB investigation, it has been reported that the operating companies for the two vessels involved have critically assessed the accidents and have made a series of signifcant improvements related to their safety manage- ment systems and vessel operation policies. About the author: Mr. Keith Fawcett is a licensed mariner and a staff member at the USCG Investigations National Center of Expertise. He has worked in the marine industry for more than 20 years, has conducted several high-profle marine casualty investigations for the Coast Guard, and is one of the winners of the Sener Award for excellence in marine casualty investigations. Endnotes: 1. As the Delta Mariner Coast Guard investigation is ongoing, this article references the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) fnal report "Allision of the Cargo Vessel M/V Delta Mariner with Eggner's Ferry Bridge, Tennessee River Near Aurora, Kentucky January 26, 2012 Accident Report NTSB/MAR-13/02" as the basis for its analyses and conclusions. Please note that any section in italics indicates information directly quoted from this report, which can be found at http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/document.cfm?docID=395429&docketID= 52354&mkey=82752. 2. According to the same NTSB report mentioned above, the owner of the Delta Mariner regularly hired experienced towing vessel masters to guide and assist the bridge team for the portion of its inland rivers route between Decatur, Alabama; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For the purposes of this report, these individuals are referred to as contract pilots. They were not federally or state-licensed pilots, but they held Coast Guard-issued master of towing vessel licenses. 3. From the NTSB report, "Navigation lighting on Kentucky bridges" section, page viii. Given that Eggner's Ferry Bridge was not properly lit on the night of the accident, the NTSB investigated the maintenance of lighting on Kentucky bridges crossing navigable waterways. The investigation found that the Kentucky Trans- portation Cabinet (KYTC), the owner of the bridge, failed to effectively maintain the bridge's lighting in accordance with the Coast Guard-approved lighting plan. The KYTC also did not identify and resolve recurring lighting problems and their causes. The NTSB found that the personnel in the division performing repairs relied on inadequate knowledge of the correct lighting confguration, and that the KYTC's oversight of its bridge navigation lighting maintenance was ineffective. 4. MODU Kulluk investigation. 5. Deck watch offcers. 6. Chief mate. 7. Eggner's Ferry Bridge. 8. Third mate. There were two licensed offcers on the bridge. Due to the unique design of the vessel and the propulsion system, only licensed offcers actually steered the vessel through this segment of the waterway. 9. Facts and chronology from the U.S. Coast Guard report "Report of the Investiga- tion Into the Circumstances Surrounding the Multiple Related Marine Casualties and Grounding of the MODU Kulluk on December 31 st , 2012," found at www.uscg. mil/hq/cg5/cg545/docs/documents/Kulluk.pdf. appropriate risk assessment from previous towing voyages could have helped to mitigate the events that transpired on that voyage. The Aiviq did have a safety management system in place, but the investigators could not fnd details for towing operations or anything directly related to towing operations. Specifc written documentation addressing the safety for towing operations, such as voyage planning, towing speeds or rout- ing, towing gear maintenance, roles and responsibilities, or inspections of equipment outside the ship-specifc equip- ment were not addressed. This shortfall existed despite the fact that by custom and court interpretation, the towing vessel assumes complete responsibility for the safety of the tow once the towing hawser is connected. Learning from the SMS Links A robust and well-thought-out safety management system would have signifcantly reduced the risks in both of these incidents. In the case of the Eggner's Ferry Bridge allision, the NTSB report cites: The passage plan provided inadequate information for safe navigation on the inland waters portion of the intended journey. The bridge team overly relied on the direction of the contract pilot, despite his apparent uncertainty, which resulted in the bridge team attempting to maneuver the vessel under the incorrect span. The contract pilot and the bridge team failed to effectively utilize all navigation tools, such as the electronic chart- ing system and radar, as they approached Eggner's Ferry Bridge. The [vessel's] safety management system was not effec- tively implemented on board the vessel at the time of the accident. Focusing on just the towing operations for the Aiviq, a detailed safety management system covering towing opera- tions, voyage route planning, vessel standing orders, use of towing strain monitoring equipment, and the role and responsibilities of bridge watch offcers engaged in towing would have greatly reduced the chances of critical towing gear failure. A vessel's safety management system is a critical safety com- ponent of vessel operations. As such, it needs to be well