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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-98-001
Details
Synopsis: SHORTLY AFTER 1400 ON 12/14/96, THE FULLY LOADED LIBERIAN BULK CARRIER BRIGHT FIELD TEMPORARILY LOST PROPULSION POWER AS THE VESSEL WAS NAVIGATING OUTBOUND IN THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER AT NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA. THE VESSEL STRUCK A WHARF ADJACENT TO A POPULATED COMMERCIAL AREA THAT INCLUDED A SHOPPING MALL, A CONDOMINIUM PARKING GARAGE, AND A HOTEL. NO FATALITIES RESULTED FROM THE ACCIDENT, AND NO ONE ABOARD THE BRIGHT FIELD WAS INJURED; HOWEVER, 4 SERIOUS INJURIES AND 58 MINOR INJURIES WERE SUSTAINED DURING EVACUATIONS OF SHORE FACILITIES, A GAMING VESSEL, AND AN EXCURSION VESSEL LOCATED NEAR THE IMPACT AREA. TOTAL PROPERTY DAMAGES TO THE BRIGHT FIELD AND TO SHORESIDE FACILITIES WERE ESTIMATED AT ABOUT $20 MILLION.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE USCG: IN COOPERATION WITH THE BOARD COMMISSIONERS OF THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS, REASSESS THE RISK OF LOCATING PASSENGER VESSELS ALONG THE LEFT DESCENDING BANK OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER & DETERMINE WHETHER TO REMOVE THE VESSELS TO A LESS VULNERABLE LOCATION OR PUT IN PLACE PROCEDURAL, OPERATIONAL, OR PHYSICAL BARRIERS THAT WILL PROTECT THESE VESSELS FROM RAMMING BY RIVERBORNE TRAFFIC.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Marine
Location: Lower Mississippi River, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA97MM014
Accident Reports:
Allision of the Liberian Freighter Bright Field with the Poydras Street Wharf, Riverwalk Marketplace and New Orleans Hilton Hotel
Report #: MAR-98-01
Accident Date: 12/14/1996
Issue Date: 2/6/1998
Date Closed: 6/11/2002
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: USCG (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 1/16/2003
Response: In consideration of the Coast Guard's efforts in performing this risk assessment, the Safety Board classified Safety Recommendation M-98-l "Closed--Acceptable Action" on June 11, 2002.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 6/11/2002
Response: Because the Coast Guard, in cooperation with the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans and other stakeholders, reassessed risks and implemented improvements as requested, Safety Recommendation M-98-1 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 6/13/2001
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 06/15/2001 4:45:52 PM MC# 2010505 Memo hand delivered by Doug Rabe: The Coast Guard wrote... In February 1999 COTP New Orleans in conjunction with the Board of Commissioner of the Port of New Orleans conducted a risk assessment on passenger vessel berths in the Port of New Orleans. This assessment concluded that: There were four berths deemed acceptable for berthing deep draft vessels that had overnight passengers: the Thalia Street Wharf, the Erato Street Wharf, the Julia Street #1 Wharf and the Julia Street #2 Wharf. Because of the unique construction and service, shallow draft passenger vessel operations must be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Board of Commissioner Berthing Team was given the responsibility of reviewing and assessing on a case by Case basis, berthing locations for shallow draft passenger vessels. *Physical barriers to protect vessels are not practical on the Mississippi River. However, the new Regulated Navigation Area (RNA) established in 33 CFR 165.810 sets operational procedures that add protection to passenger vessels. Passenger vessels, with at least 1 passenger onboard must: ·Keep a continuously manned pilothouse. ·Monitor river activities and maintain VHF emergency and working frequencies of the port, so as to be immediately available to take necessary actions to protect the vessel, the crew, and all passengers if an emergency radio broadcast, danger signal, or visual or other indication of a problem is received or detected. These operational procedures, coupled with the River Alert Network, add layers of protection for passenger vessels moored in the Port of New Orleans.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 3/6/2001
Response: The Safety Board is continuing to review its safety recommendation files to identify recommendations for which there has been no correspondence for an extended period of time. Our review indicates that currently, 79 safety recommendations that have been issued to the Coast Guard are being held in an "Open" status; no information was provided in the Coast Guard’s July 31, 2000, letter regarding these recommendations. In some cases, action on these 78 recommendations has not been reported for some time; for recommendations issued in 2000, there has been no response at all to the original recommendation letter. Enclosed is a list of these safety recommendations.

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 1/4/2000
Response: The Safety Board is pleased that the Coast Guard concurs with the recommendation and has initiated a review of passenger vessel mooring locations along the left descending bank of the Mississippi River within the Port of New Orleans. However, in view of the Bright Field accident, the Safety Board encourages the Coast Guard to take a fresh look at the risks associated with marine operations in this area. Previous studies and historical data may not have adequately anticipated the serious risk made evident by the Bright Field allision. Pending further reply from the Coast Guard on the status of these initiatives, M-98-1 has been classified "Open--Acceptable Response."

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 7/14/1998
Response: NTSB REQUESTED FOLLOWUP.

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 6/5/1998
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/10/98 3:03:32 PM MC# 980748 We concur with this recommendation. The Coast Guard already has begun a location specific review of passenger vessel mooring locations along the left descending bank of the Mississippi River in the Port of New Orleans. We intend to use existiing studies, historical casualty data, and local expertise to help us assess the risks associated with various locations. We will ask the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans and the Army Corps of Engineers to participate in this review. Risk factors being considered in the study include the location of each mooring relative to physical and operational hazards. Procedural, operational, and physical factors that may improve the safety of specific moorings also will be considered. We are also evaluating an expansion of the geographic area covered by the existing Vessel Traffic Lights, which may better serve to queue traffic before it arrives at the critical area of the river near Algiers Point. This change in operational focus is being evaluated as a first step to implementing the New Orleans Sector of the future Vessel Traffic Service for the Lower Mississippi River. We will keep the Board informed of our progress on this recommendation.