NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Philabelphia Duck Boat Collision

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 47
September 11, 2010

The National Transportations Safety Board today released its preliminary report on its investigation into the April collision between a barge and a passenger tour boat boat in the Delaware River near Philadelphia.  Below is a synopsis of of the is stated in the report:

On Wednesday, July 7, 2010, the empty 250-foot-long sludge barge The Resource, being towed alongside the 78.9-foot-long towing vessel M/V Caribbean Sea, allided with the anchored 33-foot amphibious small passenger vessel DUKW 34 in the Delaware River near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The DUKW 34, operated by Ride the Ducks, carried 35 passengers and 2 crewmembers. On board the Caribbean Sea were 5 crewmembers. As a result of the allision, the DUKW 34 sank in about 55 feet of water. Two passengers were fatally injured, and 10 passengers suffered minor injuries. No one on the Caribbean Sea was injured.

While the report does not provide any analysis regarding the incident, it does shed light on some interesting facts as to what went on that day.  Below are some key facts that were touched upon in the report:

  • At the time of the collision, the M/V Caribbean Sea, operated by K-Sea Transportation and under contract by the city of Philadelphia, was being operated by the mate, with a deckhand and an engineer also on duty. Off duty and in their living quarters were the master and another deckhand.
  • Based on AIS data transmitted just minutes before the accident, the Caribbean Sea was near the center of the river’s navigation channel and traveling at about 5.8 knots.
  • The Master of the DUKW 34 tour boat briefly turned operations over to the deckhand.
  • However when the master smelled an odor and observed what he thought was smoke coming from the ventilation ducts for the engine cooling system, he quickly resumed his position in the operator’s seat and initiated emergency procedures, which included shutting down the engine and making a call on VHF radio channel 13 to alert other vessels in the vicinity that DUKW 34 had broken down and lost propulsion.
  • The master of the DUKW 34 ordered the deckhand to deploy the anchor to prevent the vessel from drifting and used his mobile phone to notify the tour boat company of the situation.
  • A person, according to recordings from the Burlington County Bridge Authority, can be heard calling out to the northbound Caribbean Sea on VHF channel 13, alerting them of the situation.
  • Several additional callouts were made over the next minute including callouts made by other callers to the Caribbean Sea in attempts to notify them of the broken down DUKW 34.
  • No response from the northbound Caribbean Sea can be heard on the recording.
  • About 1437, the bow of the barge The Resource struck the stern of the DUKW 34, which resulted in the DUKW 34 sinking.

Interesting… Let us know what you think by commenting or joining the ongoing discussion of this incident in the gCaptain Forum, HERE.

CLICK HERE to download the full report released by the NTSB.

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