NTSB Cites Steering Error, Pilot's Fatigue in Tanker Collision

The January 2010 collision of the tanker Eagle Otome near Port Arthur, Texas, occurred when the double-hulled tanker lost power and drifted into barges being pushed by a towboat, causing a leak of about 462,000 gallons of crude oil.

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded Sept. 27 that a steering error aboard the oil tanker Eagle Otome caused it to collide with barges in the Sabine-Neches Canal near Port Arthur, Texas, on Jan. 23, 2010. The collision left a 15-foot gash in the side of the double-hulled tanker, which then leaked about 462,000 gallons of crude into the water. The tanker was en route to deliver crude to a ExxonMobil refinery in Beaumont and was operated by AET Tanker Holdings Sdn Bhd.

The board said fatigue by one pilot and inefficient management of the tanker's movements by both of them were contributing factors.

This first pilot had operational control of the tanker at the time of the collision, and he failed to correct the sheering motions that began as a result of the late initiation of a turn at a mild bend in the waterway, according to the report. The board found that this first pilot's fatigue was "caused by his untreated obstructive sleep apnea and his work schedule, which did not permit adequate sleep>" He was distracted from conducting a radio call, which the second pilot should have conducted in accordance with guidelines, they found.

The report includes recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard, starting with a recommendation that it conduct a ports and waterways safety assessment for the Sabine-Neches Waterway and develop risk mitigation strategies if the risk is deemed unacceptable. The board also asked the Coast Guard to create a database of publicly available pilot incidents and accidents and make it available to all pilot oversight organizations.

The waterway is a busy route leading to some of the largest refineries in the United States. A 13-mile stretch of the canal was closed during the response and cleanup that followed the collision.

Although no injuries were reported among personnel working on the ships, more than 1,400 local residents filed claims as a result of the spill. Port Arthur residents living within 28 blocks of the spill site initially were evacuated because of an overwhelming odor of hydrogen sulfide fumes from the high-sulfur crude oil that was spilled.

A synopsis of the report is posted at www.ntsb.gov.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch in 2019

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue