The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the 2016 allision of the 817' tanker Nordbay on the Lower Mississippi River was caused by the pilot and the master not adequately assessing the risks of handling the ballasted vessel during high-river conditions with strong following currents while turning into the wind.
On Feb. 2, 2016, at 2213 local time, the tanker Nordbay was southbound on the Lower Mississippi River in New Orleans with a pilot on board when it allided with a dock and water intakes on the left descending bank. Less than an hour later, as the vessel maneuvered through another bend in the river while heading toward an anchorage, it allided with a wharf on the left descending bank. No pollution or injuries were reported. The dock, water intakes, the wharf, and the Nordbay sustained an estimated $6.4 million in total damage.
In addition to the pilot and the master not adequately assessing the risks of handling the ballasted vessel during high-river conditions, the NTSB said in its Marine Accident Brief that another contributing factor was the bridge team’s poor situational awareness of the vessel’s position in the waterway. Contributing to the second allision was the master’s distraction from his duties while making a phone call. The full NTSB brief can be viewed here.