Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lessons Learned—Tow Allides with Moored Casino—Part II

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard “Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council” magazine.

Read Part I here.

The Coast Guard investigation blamed poor decision-making on the part of the tow’s captain—specifically his failure to account for the prevailing currents, which led him to oversteer.

To the captain’s credit, no evidence was found to suggest that alcohol or drugs contributed to the accident, and there was no actionable misconduct, inattention to duty, or willful violation of law. The report also acknowledged that his actions after the casualty were commendable, and likely played a large role in minimizing injury or loss of life and further damage to property.

Could the Accident Have Been Prevented?
Ironically, this was not the first time the Admiral had been struck. In 1994, shortly after the allision of the M/V Robert Y. Love with the Admiral, the Coast Guard captain of the port at Marine Safety Office St. Louis wrote a letter to the Corps of Engineers St. Louis District, requesting a review of the casino vessel’s permit, to determine if additional conditions were necessary to assure public safety.

The Admiral has been moved 1,000 feet and now resides just north of the last of St. Louis Harbor’s four bridges.

Actions Taken
The many questions of “What if…” made the Anne Holly /Admiral allision a noteworthy accident. What if the allision had been more severe? What if the drifting barges had been heavier or larger? What if the Admiral had parted its last remaining mooring line and been forced southbound toward the Poplar Street Bridge, which did not have adequate vertical clearance?

With more than 2,000 people aboard, the consequences of a subsequent sinking could have been catastrophic. Those questions served as the impetus for a number of safety improvements for permanently moored vessels, which we will outline in part III.

For more information:
Full article is available at Click on “archives” and “2006 Volume 63, Number 2” (Summer 2006).

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