The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a Marine Accident Brief on the March 29, 2019 incident in which the heavy lift vessel MV Hawk slammed into an electrical test barge at Ingalls Shipbuilding, pushing the barge into the newbuild destroyer USS Delbert Black (DDG 119).
The MV Hawk, which was delivering a Chinese built floating dry dock to the shipyard at the time of the incident, is owned by Offshore Heavy Transport of Oslo, Norway, and managed by Songa Shipmanagement.
According to the NTSB report, shipyard workers on the destroyer at the time of the accident reported minor injuries. Fifteen gallons of non-PCB mineral oil from electrical transistors on the barge were discharged into the river. Damage to the floating drydock, barge, destroyer, and the Ingalls pier was estimated at $15–$20 million.
The report notes that the 732-foot-long Hawk was originally built in 1989 as an oil tanker and was converted to a semi-submersible heavy lift vessel in 2008. The vessel had a single fixed-pitch propeller driven by a 15,955-hp Split-MAN B&W 6S70MC diesel engine, a single rudder, and bow and stern thrusters rated at 2,584 and 1,360 hp, respectively. The engine, rudder, and bow thrusters could be controlled from the “sea bridge,” which was forward of the cargo deck, or from the “main bridge,” which was aft of the cargo deck. Although only one bridge was in control at any time, company policy required both bridges to be manned by credentialed officers when the vessel was carrying cargo.
At the time of the accident, there were three pilots aboard the vessel.
“At 0700,” says the NTSB report, “the Hawk arrived at the pilot station where it was met by a pilot boat with three pilots aboard. The pilot boat made circles around the heavy lift ship while the pilots took photographs and noted the dimensions of the dry dock. At 0755, the pilots boarded the ship. Upon boarding, the first two pilots (hereinafter referred to as pilot 1 and pilot 2) proceeded to the sea bridge forward, while the third pilot (hereinafter referred to as pilot 3) proceeded to the main bridge aft. Pilots 1 and 2 met the vessel’s master on the sea bridge, where the ship was being controlled. After conducting a master/pilot exchange and setting up a portable pilot unit (PPU), pilot 1 took the conn of the Hawk.”
About that time, the pilots were informed that the port of Pascagoula was experiencing heavy fog. About a half hour later, when pilot 1 stated that he could see the Ingalls Shipyard, he steered the vessel into the ship channel to begin the inbound transit. The ship proceeded through Horn Island Pass at a speed of about 11 knots, making two port turns as it entered the Mississippi Sound. Pilot 1 told investigators that the Hawk “came right around” through these turns using 10 degrees rudder, and pilot 2 echoed these remarks, stating that the Hawk was “handling well.”
Things did not continue to go quite so well and the NTSB report reconstructs the events leading up to the eventual collision and its determination that “the probable cause of the collision of the heavy lift vessel Hawk with a docked barge and the destroyer Delbert D Black was the speed at which the conning pilot was operating the Hawk while attempting to turn and anchor in a shipyard basin.”
Download the NTSB report HERE