NTSB Opens Accident Docket on 2014 Houston Ship Channel Collision and Oil Spill

A tank barge leaks fuel oil following a collision with a bulk carrier, March 22, 2014 in the Houston Ship Channel. U.S. Coast Guard Photo
A tank barge leaks fuel oil following a collision with a bulk carrier, March 22, 2014 in the Houston Ship Channel. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

The U.S. National Transporation Safety Board has opened its accident docket in its ongoing investigation into a 2014 collision in the Houston Ship Channel involving a cargo ship and a tank barge being maneuvered by a Kirby tugboat.

On March 22, 2014, the inbound cargo ship MV Summer Wind collided with two-barge tow being led by the Kirby 27706 tank barge and pushed by the Kirby inland towboat Miss Susan at approximately 12:35 p.m. CDT in the connecting waterways of the Bolivar Roads Precautionary Area where the Galveston Channel, the Texas City Channel, and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway intersect with the Houston Ship Channel.

Earlier in the day, the NTSB says, deep draft vessel movement was suspended due to fog in the area; however, at the time of the accident, the port was open.

The collision resulted in the release of approximately 4,000 barrels (168,000 gallons) of fuel oil into the waterway from a breach in the double hull of the Kirby 27706. Two crewmembers on the Miss Susan suffered injuries from exposure to hydrocarbon vapor.

The docket contains more than 4,000 pages and includes a summary of the accident, transcripts from interviews with crewmembers from both vessels and witnesses aboard nearby vessels, and investigative group chairman factual reports.

The NTSB says it expects to release its final report into the incident this summer.

The docket can be accessed at: http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/projList.cfm?ntsbnum=DCA14FM008

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