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Accident Report Detail

Marine Accident Brief: Capsizing and Sinking of Towing Vessel Gracie Claire

Executive Summary

​On August 23, 2017, at 0756 local time, the towing vessel Gracie Claire was moored in Tiger Pass near mile marker 10 on the Lower Mississippi River in Venice, Louisiana.1While taking on fuel and water, the towboat began to slowly list to starboard. After the wake of a passing crewboat washed onto the Gracie Claire’s stern, the list increased. In a short period of time, water entered an open door to the engine room and flooded the space. The towboat sank partially, its bow being held above the water by the lines connected to the dock. All three crewmembers escaped to the dock without injury. Approximately 1,100 gallons of diesel fuel were discharged into the waterway. Damage to the Gracie Claire was estimated at $565,000.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the capsizing and sinking of the Gracie Claire was the towing vessel’s decreased stability and freeboard due to undetected flooding through a hull leak in the rudder compartment, which made the vessel susceptible to the adverse effects of boarding water from the wake of a passing vessel.

Accident Location: Venice , LA USA 29°15.06’ N, 089°21.49’W
Accident Date: 8/23/2017
Accident ID: DCA17FM025

Date Adopted: 8/13/2018
NTSB Number: MAB1819
NTIS Number:  

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