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Accident Report Detail

Collision Between U.S. Passenger Ferry M/V Block Island and U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay

Executive Summary

‚ÄčOn Wednesday, July 2, 2008, about 1215 eastern daylight time, the 187-foot-long passenger and car ferry M/V Block Island collided with the 140-foot-long U.S. Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay in reduced visibility on Block Island Sound, about 4 nautical miles south of Point Judith, Rhode Island. The ferry, carrying 294 passengers, eight crewmembers, two concession stand employees, and one off-duty employee, had departed Point Judith about 25 minutes earlier and was traveling south, headed for Old Harbor on the eastern side of Block Island, Rhode Island. The cutter, carrying 21 personnel, had departed Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, about 1015 and was traveling west, headed for Coast Guard Station New London, Connecticut. As the vessels approached the accident site, the visibility decreased due to fog. At the time of the collision, the crew on the Morro Bay estimated the visibility at about 500 yards.

As a result of the accident, the Block Island ferry sustained about $45,000 in damage and the Morro Bay about $15,000. Two ferry passengers were treated for minor injuries and released that same day.

Probable Cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determines that the probable cause of the collision between the ferry Block Island and the Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay was the failure of the bridge watch officers on both vessels to monitor their radars, sufficiently assess traffic, and compensate for limited visibility. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the bridge watch officers on both vessels to maintain a proper lookout and to sound appropriate fog signals.

Accident Location: Point Judith , RI   Block Island Sound
Accident Date: 7/2/2008
Accident ID: DCA08FM023

Date Adopted: 12/3/2010
NTSB Number: MAR-11-01
NTIS Number: PB2011-916401

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