Pilot Unfamiliarity Caused Fatal 2013 ‘Megan McB’ Sinking on Mississippi -NTSB

The Megan McB lying on its port side south of gate no. 1 of Lock and Dam 7 on the Mississippi River. U.S. Coast Guard Photo
The Megan McB lying on its port side south of gate no. 1 of Lock and Dam 7 on the Mississippi River. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has released a Marine Accident Brief into the fatal 2013 sinking of the MV Megan McB towing vessel on the Mississippi River.

On July 3, 2013, at 0558 local time, the uninspected towing vessel Megan McB lost engine throttle control while the crew was trying to maneuver the vessel into the main lock of Lock and Dam 7 on the Mississippi River near La Crescent, Minnesota. Without engine throttle control to maneuver the vessel, the strong river current swept the Megan McB into gate no. 1 of the dam, where the vessel became pinned and capsized. One crewmember died in the accident. The vessel was later refloated; its damage was estimated at $500,000.

The NTSB has determined that the probable cause of the capsizing was the replacement pilot’s unfamiliarity with the vessel’s electronic engine control throttles, which resulted in his inability to avoid gate no. 1 of Lock and Dam 7. Contributing to the capsizing was Brennan Marine’s lack of effective procedures to ensure that the Megan McB was operated by a replacement pilot familiar with the electronic engine control throttles, which were unique to this one vessel in the company fleet.

The full Marine Accident Brief can be found HERE (pdf).