NTSB releases report on West Coast tank barge sinking

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its investigation report of the 2014 sinking of the tank barge Nash last week.

The 260’x17’6” Nash sank in June 2014 in the Pacific Ocean off Point Conception, Calif. The NTSB said the probable cause was flooding of the aft starboard side void tank.

The tank barges Nash and Kenny were fully loaded with liquid magnesium chloride and being towed by the 3,000-hp tug Calvin from Mexico to British Columbia when the Nash began to list noticeably to its starboard side. Listing and trimming by the stern increased over the next six hours, and the U.S. Coast Guard directed the master of the tug to tow the Nash to a nearby anchorage. Shortly after, the Nash sank stern first in 240 feet of water, about three nautical miles west of Point Conception, Calif. About a week after the sinking, a salvage team partially refloated the barge and towed it to its disposal location about 17 nautical miles from shore.

The entry of the water into the void tank could not be determined because the barge was not salvaged and was not available for examination after it sank. The estimated damage was $1 million, which included the total loss of the barge and 3,900 metric tons of liquid magnesium chloride. Salmon Bay Barge Line Inc. (SBBL) purchased the barge from Foss Maritime in December 2013 to carry magnesium chloride from Mexico to Canada. SBBL also owns the Kenny and Calvin.

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