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Old 04-04-2014, 10:04 AM   #1
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Interesting video:

If you haven't seen it before:

Upper Gulf of Mexico & Texas Coast

TX: VHF audio from the oil barge/freighter collision

Date Reported: Apr 02, 2014

GIWW Mile: 350.0 West of Harvey Lock

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor


The Houston Chronicle presents the VHF Channel 13 audio exchange from the M/V Summer Wind (freighter) and the M/V Miss Susan (towing the oil barges) during the minutes leading up to the disaster, and pairs it with the corresponding charted AIS. Normal navigation rules would state clearly which captain is at fault...what do you think?

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Old 04-04-2014, 10:43 AM   #2
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I do not know what "normal navigation rules" are, are there abnormal rules? The towboat is clearly at fault. I have been through that intersection hundreds of times pushing barges and the ship is operating in a restricted channel. The towboat was not. It would appear as though the tide was inbound due to the east bound tows AIS drift Northward. He would have had better luck turning to port (with tide). Even better luck holding up after clearing the Galv. RR Bridge.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:27 AM   #3
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I too see the tugboat at fault. However, shouldn't the ship do everything it can to avoid collision? Why didn't the ship drop an anchor?.....or at least put its propulsion into reverse? I am wondering if the ship captain was its normal captain or a pilot? I thought the tug was coming out of Texas City?
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:48 AM   #4
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The towboat may have been coming from Texas City, I don't know its the same intersection. It would have been a Houston Pilot on board the Ship not the ships captain. I feel the ship did do everything possible to avoid the collision. How long would it take you to drop the hook on your boat and then given the size of the ship and its speed how long to stop and how much control would the pilot have had? If the hook did manage to catch the ship then may have turned sideways in front of two southbound tows. If he had reversed his engines which usually takes about five minutes on a ship of that nature he would have lost all control on his vessel. That is why ships use tugs when docking or un-docking they are not easily controlled when not underway.
I was run over by one in a bay about 100 miles west (Matagorda Bay) many years ago. Managed to minimize the damages as it would appear these vessels did.
Another contributing factor to this incident is that the time of day would indicate that the tow's pilot was only on watch for a few minutes, probably was still on his first cup of coffee.
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:54 PM   #5
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it is easy to 'arm chair' it but, as i see, the tow captn is clearly at fault. Why he waited till less than a mile and closing to contact the ship who is obviously the stand on vessel is where he made his first mistake.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:06 PM   #6
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Chilling to listen to, I wonder why the tow never answered at the end I guess after the collision maybe SOP in case of a collision, let the lawyers take it from there? I believe there was a similar collision not far from there a couple of weeks before or later I can't remember which
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:18 PM   #7
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Avoidance measures taken too late by towboat. First thing he did was rudder hard to stbd, then realizing that would not work, full reverse. Neither action gets quick results on such a vessel. And full reverse means basically no rudder action. By then he was aready in the shipping channel. If he kept original heading, he probably would have cleared. He started messing around after "V1".

I learned a long time ago to not get myself in front of freighters. They make little wake even when making good speed. Their size makes your mind think they are going slow. Often they are not.
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:51 PM   #8
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My rule is: The bigger boat has the right-of-way!
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:31 PM   #9
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I could not find if the ship was loaded or empty. The tow consisted of two loaded barges, and an estimate of 160,000 gals. spilled. I consider it was lucky that it was not considerably worse. It appears the reinforced bulbous bow of the ship (hardest part) opened up one or two compartments in the tow. If reports are close that would mean only about 1/4 of the product was spilled from the tow alone. The ship had the potential of spilling many times that amount. No loss of human life.
To answer Steve- I would assume that the tow pilot may have switched over to channel 16 VHF and started reporting to CG or asking assistance and may have gotten off of Chl 13. SOP Or he was cleaning up the wheel house, changing pants, etc...
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:01 AM   #10
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My rule is: The bigger boat has the right-of-way!
Tonnage rules!
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:39 AM   #11
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Not when you are into those sized vessels and pretty "restricted" in your ability to maneuver also....that's why the rules only "occasionally" mention size...they try to make it so all vessels aren't a collision threat to one another.

In very crowded shipping areas...the big boys count on you obeying the rules so they can plan ahead too. If you make an unexpected turn after they have already started to maneuver...they may have much more difficulty in reversing their maneuvering.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:38 AM   #12
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NAVRULES.

RULE 15: CROSSING SITUATION

(When two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel.)

Based on this NAVRULE alone, The Master of Miss Susan is at fault. Even after the Master of the Miss Susan was warned by that Master of the Summer Wind that he was with in 3/4s of a mile of him, the Master of Miss Susan continue to cross in front of the Vessel Summer Wind.

Happy and Safe cruising.

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Old 04-07-2014, 07:52 AM   #13
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My interpretation would fit Miss Susan ignoring Rule 9 part (d).....that is assuming the Summer Wind was confined to the channel due to draft (not constrained by draft - that's only International). He ignored the rule but my guess is he just misjudged the speed of the inbound in the channel...

If I read the AIS correctly...Rule 15 alone would have made the Miss Susan the Stand On vessel.

Rule 9 - Narrow Channels
(a) (i) A vessel proceeding along the course of a narrow channel or fairway shall keep as near to the outer limit of the channel or fairway which lies on her starboard side as is safe and practicable.
(ii) Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(i) and Rule 14(a), a power-driven vessel operating in narrow channels or fairways on the Great Lakes, Western Rivers, or waters specified by the Secretary, and proceeding downbound with a following current shall have the right-of-way over an upbound vessel, shall propose the manner and place of passage, and shall initiate the maneuvering signals prescribed by Rule 34(a)(i), as appropriate. The vessel proceeding upbound against the current shall hold as necessary to permit safe passing.
(b) A vessel of less than 20 meters in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway.
(c) A vessel engaged in fishing shall not impede the passage of any other vessel navigating within a narrow channel or fairway.
(d) A vessel shall not cross a narrow passage or fairway if such crossing impedes the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within such channel or fairway. The latter vessel may use the sound signal prescribed in Rule 34(d) if in doubt as to the intention of the crossing vessel.
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:07 AM   #14
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Psneeld.


I agree 100% with you. However the Miss Susan had not even reached the channel at the time of the warning from the Master of the Summer Wind that he was about 3/4s of mile away. The Master of the Summer stated that in his transmission to the Master of the Miss Susan that he was not even at the channel yet.

I believe they will hit the Master of the Miss Susan with both of the NAVRULES 9 & 15 plus a few others. To me the Master never should of entered the Channel with a vessel that close to him, would you agree with that?

Happy cruising to you.

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Old 04-07-2014, 08:12 AM   #15
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Sure...he supposedly just took over the watch and probably assumed the last guy knew he would clear before the Summer Wind could get there..

But Rule 15 doesn't apply if one vessel is IN a narrow channel and you re just crossing it...the vessel if using and required to use the channel is the stand on to ALL vessels crossing the channel (which then negates rule 15...and this is the classic reason). If you are crossing the channel you must be aware of vessels navigating in it and are required to stay in them...as they are the stand on vessel no matter who is right or left.
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:28 AM   #16
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Thanks Psneeld for having a great understanding of the NAVRULES.

To help me get it clear in my mind. Are you saying that once the Miss Susan entered the Channel Rule 15 is out and than rule 9 applies?

From my understanding the Summer Wind was is the channel and was limited to how far he could go to starboard due to the Red markers keeping him from running aground. Am I missing something here?

Thanks and Happy cruising

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Old 04-07-2014, 09:09 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by hfoster View Post
Thanks Psneeld for having a great understanding of the NAVRULES.

To help me get it clear in my mind. Are you saying that once the Miss Susan entered the Channel Rule 15 is out and than rule 9 applies?

From my understanding the Summer Wind was is the channel and was limited to how far he could go to starboard due to the Red markers keeping him from running aground. Am I missing something here?

Thanks and Happy cruising

H. Foster
Yes...normally in open water rule 15 would have applied and Miss Susan would have been the stand on vessel.

But with the Summer Wind requiring the use of the channel and in it...if the Miss Susan is crossing a narrow channel or fairway...she must look both ways before crossing...a vessel crossing can not impede the safe passage of a vessel in and necessarily using that channel
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:59 AM   #18
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Okay Psneeld. I have it now. Thank you. I look up the Reg and see what you are saying and you nailed it. Thanks again!

Happy cruising.

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Old 04-07-2014, 11:24 AM   #19
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Okay Psneeld. I have it now. Thank you. I look up the Reg and see what you are saying and you nailed it. Thanks again!

Happy cruising.

H. Foster
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:26 AM   #20
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Yes...normally in open water rule 15 would have applied and Miss Susan would have been the stand on vessel.
As I interpret rule 15, Miss Susan had Summer Wind to starboard and had a duty to avoid and if necessary not cross in front of Summer Wind.

Further rule 9 gives the vessel requiring the channel the right of way.

But why didn't Summer Wind reverse? My mom always taught me that even if I had the right of way not to fight for it.
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