An accident last year that occurred when the Foss ship Delta Mariner
struck the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge in Kentucky was caused by the reliance of the vessel’s bridge team on the independent contract pilot who provided incorrect navigational direction, said a report released earlier this month by the National Transportation Safety Administration.
NTSB said contributing factors included the failure of deck officers on the vessel to use all available navigation tools to verify the vessel's position and proper route under the bridge, the failure of the crew to prepare an adequate detailed passage plan, and the lack of effective management and oversight of the bridge lighting system.
On the evening of Jan. 26, 2012, the Delta Mariner
was travelling on the Tennessee River, near Aurora, Ky., when it struck the partially lighted Eggner’s Ferry Bridge as it attempted to pass through the lowest of four navigable spans of the bridge. As a result, a 322-foot span of the bridge, including a portion of U.S. Highway 68, was torn away. The Delta Mariner
is a self-propelled barge built to carry Delta and Atlas rocket components from their manufacturer, the United Launch Alliance joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, in Decatur, Ala., to Cape Canaveral, Fla.
NTSB said the crew had at their disposal an Army Corps of Engineers chart book and an electronic charting display system, which would have provided critical information about the vessel’s position and the correct bridge lighting scheme. However, the vessel was directed towards the only lighted span and away from the main span that would have provided sufficient clearance.
A complete summary of the accident investigation and NTSB's recommendations to the Coast Guard, Federal
Highway Administration, and Foss Maritime Co. have been posted here
. - Chris Dupin