NTSB reports on role of ECS in $1.47 million Alaska ATB grounding

Written by Nick Blenkey
ATB grounding

An articulated tug and barge (ATB) unit hit a known underwater rock near Kodiak, Alaska, last year, leading to a grounding that caused $1.47 million in damages, the National Transportation Safety Board says.

The vessels comprising the ATB were the 79-foot tugboat Cingluku and the Jungjuk, a 185-foot-long-by-55-foot-wide deck barge fitted with a 30-foot-long- by-17-foot-wide bow ramp for loading and offloading cargo. Primarily used to transport containerized cargo and vehicles, both vessels were built in 2022 by Halimar Shipyard in Morgan City, Louisiana, and were owned and operated by Brice Marine.

On May 25, 2023, the Cingluku and the Jungjuk were transiting into Shakmanof Cove from Marmot Bay on May 25, 2023, with six crewmembers onboard. While approaching the entrance to the cove, the barge grounded on a submerged rock, damaging its steel hull. No pollution or injuries were reported, and there was no damage to the tugboat.

​The captain plotted a route into Shakmanof Cove in the vessel’s electronic chart system, or ECS, using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration electronic navigational chart, or ENC, for Marmot Bay and Kupreanof Strait. As the ATB was turning near the entrance of the cove, the barge ran aground on a charted submerged rock that was not detectable on radar or through a visual lookout. Although the rock was charted on the ENC, the captain did not notice the asterisk marking the rock’s location.

​​“Owners and operators should ensure their crews are sufficiently trained in the use of their electronic chart system (ECS) and understand how to use the different functionalities of the ECS,” the report said. “An ECS offers advanced features that can help users increase their vessel’s safety and crew situational awareness of potential safety hazards. In some cases, incorrect, or non-use of these features may even reduce situational awareness to certain hazards, such as submerged rocks.”

The full report says much, much more on the ECS system used on the accident vessel and its settings and use in this incident.

Subsequent to the incident, says the full NTSB report, on May 31, the ATB’s classification society performed a damage assessment of the Jungjuk in Seward. The damage assessment noted hull indentations between 16 and 20 feet long along the bottom plating and related damage to the barge’s framing along the centerline forward ballast tank . According to the company, the total cost to repair all the damage to the barge was estimated at $1.47 million.

  • Download the full report HERE
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