The Coast Guard is scheduled to convene a one-person formal investigation to look into events leading up and contributing to the collision between two tank ships at mile 178 of the Lower Mississippi River
near Donaldsonville, La.
The collision occurred May 19 when the crews of the southbound motor vessel Stolt Zulu and the northbound motor vessel Bow Fortune tried to pass each other at 81 Mile Bend, a sharp curve in the river. As a result of the collision, the Bow Fortune sustained a 28-ft. gash in the port bow while the Stolt Zulu sustained inset side shell and damaged guard rails to the port side.
"This was a significant accident that could have been avoided," said Capt. Frank Paskewich, commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. "After the collision, we were very glad that there were no associated injuries, pollution or significant impact to the waterway and flow of maritime traffic, but the incident could have turned out far worse than it did. My investigators are committed to looking at all the factors to see what could be done to try to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future."