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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-79-112
Details
Synopsis: ON AUGUST 27, 1978, THE AMERICAN CONTAINERSHIP SS SEA LAND VENTURE COLLIDED WITH THE DANISH TANKER M/T NELLY MAERSK WHILE OVERTAKING AT THE BEND INTO INNER BAR CHANNEL, GALVESTON, TEXAS. THE NELLY MAERSK, FULLY LOADED WITH MEDIUM CRUDE OIL AND MAKING ABOUT 7 KNS, HAD MADE THE TURN AND WAS STEADYING ON THE UPBOUND CHANNEL HEADING AS THE SEA-LAND VENTURE WAS CLOSING TO PORT. THE BOW OF THE SEA-LAND VENTURE WAS CRUSHED AS IT RAKED THE PORTSIDE AND AFTER DECKHOUSE OF THE NELLY MAERSK. THE NELLY MAERSK WAS PIVOTED INTO THE LEFT BANK AND GROUNDED, AND THE SEA-LAND VENTURE VEERED TO STAR BOARD INTO AN ANCHORAGE TO THE RIGHT OF THE CHANNEL. THERE WERE NO DEATHS OR INJURIES RESULTING FROM THE ACCIDENT. DAMAGE TO THE VESSELS WAS ESTIMATED TO BE $1.4 MILLION.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE U.S. COAST GUARD: ISSUE A REGULATION TO PROHIBIT DEEP-DRAFT VESSELS OVERTAKING OR MEETING EACH OTHER AT THE BENDS IN THE CHANNELS WHEN TRAVERSING THE GALVESTON-HOUSTON SHIP CHANNEL.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Marine
Location: Bays and Sounds, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA78AM033
Accident Reports: Collision of American Containership SS Sea-Land Venture and Danish Tanker M/T Nelly Maersk
Report #: MAR-79-16
Accident Date: 8/27/1978
Issue Date: 11/9/1979
Date Closed: 7/10/1992
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: USCG (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 7/10/1992
Response: THE BOARD CONTINUES TO BELIEVE THAT THE MEETING OR OVERTAKING OF DEEP-DRAFT VESSELS AT BENDS IN THE HOUSTON-GALVESTON SHIP CHANNEL SHOULD BE PROHIBITED. BECAUSE THE CG DISAGREES & PLANS NO FURTHER ACTION, RECOMMENDATION M-79-112 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED AS "CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 4/13/1987
Response: THE CG CONCURS WITH THIS RECOMMENDATION IN PRINCIPLE. THE HOUSTON-GALVESTON PILOTS' ASSOCIATION HAS DEVELOPED GUIDELINES TO MINIMIZE OCCURRENCES OF DEEP DRAFT VESSELS OVERTAKING OR MEETING EACH OTHER AT BENDS IN CHANNELS WHILE TRAVERSING THE HOUSTON-GALVESTON SHIP CHANNEL. THE CG CONSIDERS THAT THE HIGH VESSEL PARTICIPATION RATE IN THE VESSEL TRAFFIC SERVICE (VTS), AWARENESS OF THE PILOTS AND THE VTS OPERATORS, AND GUIDELINES DEVELOPED ALL PROVIDE A COMPREHENSIVE AWARENESS OF THE DANGERS ASSOCIATED WITH DEEP-DRAFT VESSELS OVERTAKING OR MEETING EACH OTHER AT THE BENDS IN THE HOUSTON-GALVESTON CHANNEL, WITHOUT FEDERAL REGULATION. THEREFORE, NO FURTHER ACTION ON THIS RECOMMENDATION IS ANTICIPATED.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 5/18/1981
Response:

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 2/26/1981
Response: U.S. COAST GUARD LTR: THE COAST GUARD AGREES THAT MEETING OR OVERTAKING AT BENDS IN THE CHANNEL CONSTITUTES A HIGHER RISK THAN SUCH MANEUVERS IN STRAIGHT SECTIONS OF THE CHANNEL. HOWEVER, THE COAST GUARD BELIEVES THAT SAFETY RECOMMENDATION M-79-114 WHICH WAS ISSUED TO THE GALVESTON TEXAS CITY AND HOUSTON PILOTS ASSOCIATION BY THE SAFETY BOARD IS MORE APPROPRIATE. THE COAST GUARD IS CONCERNED THAT A SINGLE TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT REGULATION MAY FORCE PILOTS INTO EVEN MORE HAZARDOUS MANEUVERS IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN A REASONABLE TRAFFIC FLOW. THERE ARE THREE BENDS IN THE APPROXIMATELY TEN MILES OF CHANNEL BETWEEN THE ENTRANCE AND BOLIVAR ROADS WHERE THE CHANNEL WIDTH BECOMES SEVERELY REDUCED. PROHIBITION OF MEETING OR OVERTAKING IN THE VICINITY OF THESE BENDS WILL SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCE THE SECTIONS OF CHANNEL WHERE THESE MANEUVERS MAY BE ACCOMPLISHED. FURTHER, SEVERAL LARGE VESSELS UNDERWAY SIMULTANEOUSLY IN THE TEN MILES OF CHANNEL MAY PRESENT SITUATIONS TOO COMPLICATED TO BE ADDRESSED BY A SINGLE TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT RULE. IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS, USUALLY EMERGENCIES, THE HOUSTON GALVESTON VESSEL TRAFFIC SERVICES DOES RECOMMEND THAT VESSELS REFRAIN FROM MEETING AND/OR OVERTAKING MANEUVERS. WHEN THE HOUSTON-GALVESTON VESSEL TRAFFIC SERVICE BECOMES MANDATORY, SUCH MANEUVERS MAY BE PROHIBITED IN EMERGENCIES.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 5/21/1980
Response:

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 3/13/1980
Response: USCG LTR: THE COAST GUARD DOES NOT CONCUR WITH M-79-112. IT IS THE COAST GUARD'S FINDING THAT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THIS ACCIDENT WAS THE FAILURE OF THE HELMSMAN TO CARRY OUT THE STEERING COMMAND GIVEN TO HIM BY THE PILOT. IN VIEW OF THIS FINDING, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT EQUALLY DISASTROUS RESULTS COULD FOLLOW A MISTAKE OF THIS NATURE EVEN IN A STRAIGHT CHANNEL.