NTSB Board Meeting on Cosco Busan Allision

Mike Schuler
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February 18, 2009

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Today, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a public board meeting on its investigation into the Cosco Busan allision.  The goal of which, was to formally cite the probable cause of the accident and to make recommendations on improving safety.

UPDATE: Two animations presented today in the board meeting have been posted on the NTSB website and can be found HERE.

The first animation tracks the path of the M/V Cosco Busan on a nautical chart at 20 times real speed with the start time 08:00 and end time of 08:30 or time of the allision.

The second animation is of the same chart in real time from 08:26 to 08:30.  Displayed this time is an inset of the radar along with the bridge voice recorder comments and the time they occurred.  Both animations are narrated.

We should be seeing a synopsis of today’s hearing shortly.  Below of some of meetings finding that were reported earlier.

Amongst many factors contributing to the allision, it was stated that a lack of communication between crew members played a critical role in the incident.  Here is a snippet of the Associated Press’ coverage or you can read the full article HERE:

The investigators told the National Transportation Safety Board Wednesday that the ship’s captain and pilot had little discussion about how the pilot planned to guide the ship through dangerous local waters. For example, the safety officials said there was no discussion of the ship’s proper speed or extra precautions that should be taken because of dense fog.

The captain’s lack of experience with the bay made him more dependent upon the pilot to guide the ship, investigators said. Language differences also contributed to their lack of communication, and perhaps cultural differences did as well, with the captain less willing to question the authority of somebody with superior knowledge of local waters, investigators said.

Meanwhile, the pilot, John Cota, also committed several errors, including failure to interpret radar images and effectively question officials monitoring vessel traffic when questions arose about his course. Yet, the captain, Mao Cai Sun, didn’t step in and take control despite troubling signals. Staff and board members seemed torn over which of the two bore the greatest responsibility for the crash.

Further coverage of the board meeting can be found at the NTSB website HERE.  They should also be releasing a synopsis of the findings shortly, which we will link to, here on gCaptain.

You can read gCaptain’s full coverage on the Cosco Busan HERE.

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