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Accident Report Detail

​Marine Accident Brief: Allision of James H Hunter Tow with Dock and Fire Boat

Executive Summary

​About 2250 on June 6, 2017, the towing vessel James H Hunter was pushing three gravel and sand barges upstream in the Cumberland River through the city of Nashville, Tennessee, when two barges broke from the tow; hit the bank; and then allided with a floating dock underneath a pedestrian bridge, a fire boat moored at the dock, and a bridge pier.1 The fire boat broke free of its moorings as the barges pushed the dock downriver. There were no injuries or reports of pollution. The fire boat sustained damage in the form of dents and scrapes to its hull, and the dock sustained damage estimated to be about $300,000. Damage to the barges was reported to be superficial.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the allision of the James H Hunter tow with the dock and fire boat was the practice of using single barge couplings in high-water conditions, which resulted in the parting of a steering coupling after rudder input to counteract the strong current.

Accident Location: Nashville , TN USA Cumberland River, mile marker 191.1; 36° 9.7’ N, 86° 46.3’ W
Accident Date: 6/6/2017
Accident ID: DCA17FM015

Date Adopted: 7/12/2018
NTSB Number: MAB1817
NTIS Number:  

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