NTSB reports on tow boat grounding incident

Stern view of Justice in dry dock after the accident. Inset, lower part of starboard ASD after salvage Stern view of Justice in dry dock after the accident. Inset, lower part of starboard ASD after salvage U.S. Coast Guard

JULY 1, 2014 — The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a report on an incident last year in which the Boston Towing and Transportation vessel Justice grounded with an impact sufficient to shear off its starboard azimuthing stern drive (ASD).

The towing vessel  was heading to Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, with five crew members when it grounded on a hard, rocky bottom southwest of Cape Cod Canal, just outside Hog Island Channel on March 21, 2013. The impact, at 0001 eastern daylight time, sheared the starboard stern drive from the vessel and resulted in the discharge of 232 gallons of gear oil. The vessel docked 15 minutes later without further incident using its remaining port stern drive. No one was injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the grounding was the mate's ineffective use of the vessel's autopilot to maintain a course within the navigable channel and his delay in taking manual control as the vessel approached charted hazards.

Read the report HERE