Miscommunication and pilot failure likeliest causes of Houston Ship Channel collision

Miscommunication and pilot failure likeliest causes of Houston Ship Channel collision

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced that the most likely cause of a ship collision last year in the Houston Ship Channel was a combination of poor inter-ship communications and the inability of the pilot on one of the vessels to control its movements.

The collision, on March 9, 2015, involved the Liberian bulk carrier Conti Peridot (57,001 dwt, built 2011) and the Danish-flagged Carla Maersk (44,999 dwt, built 1999).

It caused a significant chemical spill of around 88,200 gallons of the gasoline additive MTBE from ruptured tanks of the Carla Maersk.

There were also three days of stoppages and delays to shipping on a stretch of the waterway.

In a public meeting the NTSB said the Conti Peridot’s pilot failed to communicate properly with other vessels as he took his vessel into thick fog on the Channel. It also said the pilot had difficulty controlling his ship in those conditions.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.

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