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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter May 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Danish Maritime Days Themes Announced

Four themes at this year’s Danish Maritime Days will highlight some of the most important challenges and opportunities which the global maritime industry is facing, organizers said.

CMA CGM Proceeds with NOL Takeover after China Okay

CMA CGM, the world's third-largest container shipping firm, is to go ahead with its planned acquisition of Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) after receiving regulatory clearance from China,

Singapore Exchange in Talks to buy Baltic Exchange

Baltic Exchange privately owned by 380 shareholders. The Singapore Exchange (SGX) is in exclusive talks to buy London's Baltic Exchange, which has been at the

Maritime Safety

Overcrowded Migrant Boat Flips, Five Dead

A large wooden fishing boat overcrowded with migrants capsized off the coast of Libya, the Italian navy said on Wednesday, with some 562 people rescued and five found dead.

SOLAS Container Weight Requirements FAQ

With new rules regarding the declaration of the accurate gross mass of a packed containers due to enter force, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) answers

Mount Whitney Makes History

USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship, made history today as the first amphibious command ship to have an MV-22B Osprey land on its flight deck, May 23, 2016.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.0956 sec (10 req/sec)