The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a Marine Accident Brief on the March 7, 2019, sinking of the 1997-built Marquette Transportation towboat St. Rita.
The incident occurred at about 1430 local time, when the towboat was shifting the hopper barge LTD 14161 across the Mississippi River to the Cooper Consolidated La Place fleeting area, about 23 miles west of New Orleans, La.
The towboat collided with moored barges and became pinned against a barge block broadside to the current, heeled over, and sank. The five crewmembers on board abandoned the St. Rita by climbing aboard the LTD 14151 and were later rescued by a Good Samaritan towing vessel. No pollution or injuries were reported.
The submerged vessel was considered a total constructive loss and was valued at $1.5 million.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the collision of towing vessel St. Rita and tow with moored barges and subsequent sinking was the captain’s inexperience in executing a fleeting operation on a single headline in heavy river current conditions in close proximity to the head of a block.
Read the Marine Accident Brief HERE