Safety Board Determines Cause of 2006 Barge Fire

Thursday, June 14, 2007
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the failure of Athena Construction to require its crews to pin mooring spuds securely in place on its barges led to an unintentional release of one of the spuds. This resulted in a pipeline rupture that killed six. On October 12, 2006, the uninspected towing vessel Miss Megan was pushing two deck barges in the West Cote Blanche Bay oil field in Louisiana, en route to a pile- driving location. Barge Athena 106 was tied along the port side of barge IBR 234. The Miss Megan was secured astern of IBR 234 pushing both barges. While the vessels were under way, the aft spud (a vertical steel shaft extending through a well in the bottom of the boat and used for mooring) on the Athena 106 released from its fully raised position. The spud dropped into the water and struck a submerged, high- pressure natural gas pipeline. The resulting gas released ignited and created a fireball that engulfed the towing vessel and both barges. The master of the towing vessel and four barge workers were killed. The Miss Megan deckhand and one barge worker survived. One barge worker is officially listed as missing.

The Board stated in its final report that Athena Construction's manual contained no procedures mandating the use of the safety devices on the spud winch except during electrical work. It was found that if the Athena 106 crew had used the steel pins to secure the retracted spuds during their transit, a pin would have prevented the aft spud from accidentally deploying. Furthermore, the spud would have remained locked in its lifted position regardless of whether the winch brake mechanism, the spud's supporting cable, or a piece of connecting hardware had failed.

Contributing to the accident was the failure of Central Boat Rentals to require, and the Miss Megan master to ensure, that the barge spuds were securely pinned before getting under way. The Board noted that investigators found no evidence that the Miss Megan master or deckhand checked whether the spuds had been properly secured before the tow began. While Central Boat Rentals had a health and safety manual and trained its crews, the written procedures did not specifically warn masters about the need to secure spuds or other barge equipment before navigating. The company's crew should have been trained to identify potential safety hazards on vessels under their control. As a result of these findings the Safety Board recommended that Athena Construction and Central Boat Rentals should develop procedures and train the employees of its barges to use the securing pins to hold spuds safely in place before transiting from one site to another.

Maritime Reporter September 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Coast Guard Foundation to Honor USCG in Miami

The Coast Guard Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that

Maritime Broadband Opens Office in Greece

Maritime Broadband has expanded its worldwide footprint by opening an office, Maritime Broadband Hellas, in Athens, Greece. The new office addresses the growing

Renewable Energy: Schottel Tidal Turbines Ready For Use

In the last months Schottel  successfully tested its hydrokinetic turbines in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland. The full-scale tests included 260 operating hours under realistic conditions.

Maritime Safety

Sunken Barge Salvage Stops Traffic on Chicago River

The U.S. Coast Guard said it is restricting vessel traffic on the Chicago River to allow for salvage of a sunken barge. All cargo has been removed from the sunken

USCG Reopens Port Allen Post Hurricane Ana

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port reopened Port Allen in Kauai Monday morning after surveying crews deemed it  safe for transit. The maritime public is advised

Mitsubishi Super Skiving System

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has completed development of the "Mitsubishi Super Skiving System" for machining internal gears with high speed and outstanding precision.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2943 sec (3 req/sec)