Coast Guard Investigating Collision

Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Crewmembers of Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Houston-Galveston are investigating the collision between the freight ship Napoleon and a tugboat with four barges in the Houston Ship Channel Monday night. A Coast Guard watchstander at Vessel Traffic Service Houston received the report of the collision via the pilot aboard the Napolean at approximately 10:40 p.m. According to the report the collision occurred while the Napolean attempted to over take the tug Jonathan Thomas, near buoy number 54, while heading out bound in the Houston Ship Channel near Redfish Bar in Galveston Bay. The collision caused the Jonathan Thomas's tow line to brake; setting the barges adrift, injuring one crewmen and damaging one barge and the tug. No visible damage was done to the Napoleon, the Jonathan Thomas, however, began to take on water and beached on the west side of the channel. The Napolean is a Malta flagged 620-foot freight ship owned by Atlantic Freeze Ship Company Ltd. It was empty at the time of the collision. The Jonathan Thomas is a 66-foot tug homeported in New Orleans. It was pushing four barges; one empty, one carrying 10,000 barrels of octene, one carrying 10,000 barrels of hexene and one carrying 20,000 barrels of lube oil. The lube oil barge was damaged on its starboard quarter, but no pollution has been reported. The Jonathan Thomas has been de-watered and is no longer in danger of sinking. The barges were gathered by assisting tugs. The channel was restricted to one way traffic at slow speed with no passing between buoys 57 to 61 throughout the night. At 7:40 a.m. the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Capt. Rick Kaser lifted the restrictions, and opened the channel to normal traffic. The cause of the collision is still under investigation.
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