The Hocke Net

1.19.12 - Ken Hocke Blog photo Danger on the water

January 28, 2013

Marine transportation is a dangerous business. The maritime industry, Coast Guard, Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency and others have made safety on the U.S. inland and coastal waters a priority.

Sure, you say, safety on the water has always been important. But over the past 15 years or so, I believe increased safety in the wheelhouse, on deck, below deck in the engine spaces, and elsewhere on vessels has been emphasized like never before. That’s a good thing.

Mariner training, I would also argue, is better than it has ever been. That’s also a good thing.

And yet the following has occurred:

• Kentucky has filed a “claim and answer” document in U.S. District Court in Paducah stemming from an allision last year between Foss Maritime’s 312' Delta Mariner and the Eggners Ferry Bridge that connects Trigg and Marshal counties.

• The 750' oil tanker Overseas Reymer struck the San Francisco Bay Bridge in early January while being piloted by a member of the San Francisco Bar Pilots Association.

• The 330-passenger, 141'x34' ferry Seastreak Wall Street allided with a pier in lower Manhattan in early January. About 60 people were injured in the accident.

• This past weekend, two tank barges, towed by the tug Nature's WayEndeavor, owned by Nature’s Way Marine, Theodore, Ala., allided with the Vicksburg (Miss.) Railroad river bridge. The tank barges were loaded with crude oil and both were damaged. One released oil into the lower Mississippi River.

• Also, a tug and barge rammed a sailboat near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay Saturday, resulting in two people being tossed into the bay.

Despite our best efforts and our best intentions, maritime accidents will continue to occur.

So be careful out there.


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