NTSB Issues Brief on 2016 Tanker Accident

Two pilots aboard the vessel suffered minor burns in the fire. The accident caused an estimated $1.5 million in property damage.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a marine accident brief last week that said a momentary failure of a tanker's governor actuator system led to a Sept. 6, 2016, allision in the Houston Ship Channel near the Intercontinental Terminals Company facility.

This photo shows the fire following the Houston Ship Channel accident. (Image from NTSB Marine Brief, courtesy of ITC City Dock security video)The 810-foot tanker Aframax River hit two mooring dolphins in the channel, causing a 30-foot long gash in the hull of the ship. This resulted in the leak of about 88,000 gallons of low-sulfur marine gas oil, with the fuel igniting and burning for about 45 minutes.

The accident forced the closure of a portion of the channel for approximately 14 hours.

Two pilots aboard the vessel suffered minor burns in the fire. The accident caused an estimated $1.5 million in property damage.

The document is marine accident brief 18-06. In it, the board reported that the actions of the tanker's crew, tugboat crews, and the pilots successfully prevented the spread of fire to other vessels and structures. The board determined that the probable cause of the allision with mooring dolphins and the subsequent fire in the waterway was a momentary abnormality of the tanker's main engine governor actuator system in responding to command inputs from the bridge.

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