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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-79-114
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 GALVESTON-TEXAS CITY PILOTS ASSOCIATION AND THE HOUSTON PILOTS ASSOCIATION: REQUIRE MEMBER PILOTS PILOTING DEEP-DRAFT VESSELS TO REFRAIN FROM OVERTAKING OR MEETING OTHER VESSELS AT THE BENDS IN 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: 2/21/1984
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: American Pilots Association (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Galveston-Texas City Pilots Association (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Houston Pilots Association (Closed--No Longer Applicable)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: American Pilots Association
Date: 1/6/1984
Response:

From: American Pilots Association
To: NTSB
Date: 8/19/1983
Response: AMERICAN PILOTS ASSOCIATION LETTER: THE APA RESPECTFULLY DISAGREES WITH THIS NTSB RECOMMENDATION. MEETING IN BENDS ON THIS UNIQUE WATERWAY IS NOT ONLY OPERATIONALLY NECESSARY, BUT IS A SAFE PRACTICE EXECUTED ROUTINELY ON A DAILY BASIS. CONSIDERING THE WINDING CONFIGURATION AND CONFINED WIDTHS OF THE CHANNEL, THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE MANEUVER AVAILABLE FOR VESSELS TRANSITING THE AREA. PILOTS ARE TRAINED FROM FIRST APPRENTICE EMPLOYMENT THE ART IN WHICH AND WHERE TO EXECUTE MANEUVERS ALONG THE CHANNEL. OVERHAULING OF VESSELS IS GIVEN CAREFUL CONSIDERATION AND ONLY ATTEMPTED IN SELECTIVE SECTORS.

From: NTSB
To: American Pilots Association
Date: 8/2/1983
Response:

From: NTSB
To: Houston Pilots Association
Date: 7/22/1983
Response:

From: Houston Pilots Association
To: NTSB
Date: 4/26/1983
Response: HOUSTON PILOTS ASSOCIATION LETTER: IN REFERENCE TO M-79-114, THE CONFIGURATION OF THE HOUSTON SHIP CHANNEL RESTRICTS THE OVERTAKING AND PASSING OF VESSELS IN MANY PLACES. HOWEVER, TO SAY THAT WE WOULD REFRAIN FROM OVERTAKING OR PASSING IN A BEND WOULD MAKE A ONE-WAY CHANNEL FOR THE PORT OF HOUSTON. THE HOUSTON SHIP CHANNEL HAS VERY FEW STRAIGHT REACHES. THE AREA OF THE COLLISION HAPPENS TO BE THE WIDEST PLACE IN THE CHANNEL AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONSIDERED TO BE A SAFE AREA TO MEET AND OVERTAKE OTHER VESSELS. THE ENTIRE ROUTE OF THE HOUSTON CHANNEL LEAVES LITTLE MARGIN FOR ERROR, BE IT HUMAN OR OTHERWISE. TO REQUIRE FROM OVERTAKING OR PASSING IN THE CHANNEL WOULD BE A SERIOUS DETRIMENT TO THE TRAFFIC AND ECONOMY OF THE PORT. THE HOUSTON SHIP CHANNEL HAS A MAXIMUM WIDTH OF 400 FT. AND THE BALIVAR ROADS INNER BAR CHANNEL WHERE THE COLLISION OCCURED, 800 FT. THE SAFETY RECORD OF THE PILOTS, FOR GALVESTON AND FOR HOUSTON, WILL SHOW THAT SINCE THE BEGINNING OF BOTH PORTS, THERE HAVE BEEN VERY FEW ACCIDENTS.

From: NTSB
To: Galveston-Texas City Pilots Association
Date: 2/21/1984
Response:

From: NTSB
To: Galveston-Texas City Pilots Association
Date: 8/2/1983
Response: