The Houston Pilots Association (HPA) is disputing the conclusion of a collision report by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) two weeks ago.
The NTSB’s report on the March 9, 2015 incident on the Houston Ship Channel blamed the collision on a combination of poor inter-ship communications and the inability of one of the ships’ pilots to control its movements.
Liberian-flagged bulker Conti Peridot (57,001 dwt, built 2011) and Danish-flagged chemical tanker Carla Maersk (44,999 dwt, built 1999) were the vessels involved, resulting in a chemical spill of around 88,200 gallons of the gasoline additive MTBE from ruptured tanks of the Carla Maersk.
A stretch of the waterway was shut for three days for cleanup.
In contesting those conclusions, the HPA maintains that the collision was more likely to have been caused by a switch to ultra-low-sulphur fuel oil that led the Conti Peridot to unexpectedly lose power only seconds before the accident.