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Carib Trader II precasualty. (Source: Gordon Dalzell, shipspotting.com via NTSB)

Carib Trader II precasualty. (Source: Gordon Dalzell, shipspotting.com via NTSB)

NTSB Investigation Reveals Probable Cause of ‘Carib Trader II’ Sinking

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 11408
February 7, 2024

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued its investigation report into the sinking of the Carib Trader II during a dead ship tow from the Port of Miami to Haiti.

The incident took place on March 6, 2022, near the Magallanes Bank, approximately 25 miles northwest of Santo Domingo Cay, Bahamas.

The uncrewed general cargo vessel Carib Trader II took on water and sank while being towed by the towing vessel Capt. Beau. There were no injuries reported, but damage to the vessel was estimated at $752,700.

The NTSB determined that the most probable cause of the sinking was uncontrolled flooding of the engine room from an unknown location below the waterline.

Carib Trader II during the casualty. (Source: Capt. Beau crew via NTSB)
Carib Trader II during the casualty. (Source: Capt. Beau crew via NTSB)

The towing vessel, Capt. Beau, which was carrying five crewmembers at the time, reported a minor debris field following the incident.

According to the NTSB report, the tow line bridle parted due to severe winds and sea conditions that were close to the maximum limit prescribed in the tow plan. The crew onboard Capt. Beau reported that the port anchor chain of Carib Trader II had payed out, causing the ship to ride lower at the stern.

The report also highlighted that the Carib Trader II, known for its substandard care and maintenance, had been in layup for 2 years. The vessel’s inspection history suggests she was in poor condition, further substantiated when the mate found the engine room flooding rapidly upon boarding the vessel. Despite attempts to dewater with a pre-staged portable pump, the efforts were unsuccessful due to the rapid flooding, indicating that the source was likely below the waterline.

You can read the NTSB report here.

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