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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-98-002
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: CONDUCT, WITH THE COOPERATION OF ALL STAKEHOLDERS, A COMPREHENSIVE RISK ASSESSMENT THAT CONSIDERS ALL ACTIVITIES, MARINE & SHORESIDE, WITHIN THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable 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: 10/22/2001
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: USCG (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 1/16/2003
Response: The Coast Guard maintained that a comprehensive research study would be necessary to adequately address all of the complex issues associated with the recommendations and stated that it did not have the resources to pursue such a study. Based on the stated position of the Coast Guard at that time, the Safety Board classified Safety Recommendations M-98-2 and M-98-4 "Closed--Unacceptable Action."

From: NTSB
To: USCG
Date: 10/22/2001
Response: The Safety Board is disappointed that the Coast Guard still does not agree with these recommendations, does not intend to take any action on them, and again requests that they be closed. Nonetheless, the Board continues to believe that this accident demonstrated that many stakeholders in the Port of New Orleans had not prepared for an accident, even though previous studies provided enough information for the port stakeholders to recognize the possibility of an accident similar to the one involving the Bright Field. The Board noted in its report that many of the risk factors associated with river commerce within the port area were identified in previous risk assessments and, further, that these factors may be amenable to known risk-reduction or risk-mitigation initiatives. The intent of M-98-2 was for the Coast Guard to work with the Board of Commissioners and other port stakeholders to further evaluate the risks to people and property in this area and to implement risk-management and risk-mitigation initiatives that will ensure the safety of people and property within the Port of New Orleans. A risk assessment might determine the best way of reducing or eliminating accidents, including the option of removing the vessels from the harbor area, providing some protection against vessel strikes, or developing an operational procedure to help mitigate the risk of vessel hits. However, because the Coast Guard has informed the Board that it continues to disagree with these recommendations, intends to take no action on them, and has asked that they be closed, both Safety Recommendations M-98-2 and -4 are classified "Closed--Unacceptable Action."

From: USCG
To: NTSB
Date: 4/3/2001
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 04/12/2001 5:39:38 PM MC# 2010317 The Coast Guard has previously requested that the following safety recommendations (M-98-2) be closed. We request that the Board refer to our previous correspondence on these recommendations (M-98-2) and close them accordingly.

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 disappointed that the Coast Guard does not concur with this recommendation. The Board is aware that various risk assessments were completed before the accident. This accident, however, demonstrated that many stakeholders had not prepared for an accident, even though the previous studies did yield enough information for the port stakeholders to recognize the possibility of an accident similar to the one involving the Bright Field. The Board noted in its report that many of the risk factors associated with river commerce within the port area were identified in previous risk assessments and, further, that these factors may be amenable to known risk-reduction or risk-mitigation initiatives. The Safety Board intended the Coast Guard to work with the Board of Commissioners and other port stakeholders to further evaluate the risks to people and porperty in this area. The new study should consider the lessons learned from the Bright Field accident in determining the best way of reducing or eliminating the risks. The Coast Guard must ultimately consider all options, including the option of removing the vessels from the harbor area, providing some protection against vessel strikes, or developing an operational procedure to help mitigate the risk of vessel hits. Accordingly, the Safety Board requests that the Coast Guard reconsider its response and proceed with a comprehensive risk assessment that considers all activities, marine and shoreside, within the Port of New Orleans. Pending further response from the Coast Guard, M-98-2 has been classified "Open--Unacceptable 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 do not concur with this recommendation. Several risk assessments have already been conducted for the Mississippi River including the Port of New Orleans. These include Modeling the Mississippi: Transportation Risks on the Nation's Busiest Waterway, Gramling, et al., 1997, Evaluating and Monitoring Port and Waterway Risk for the Lower Mississippi River, Grabowski, et al., 1994, and Evaluating and Monitoring Port and Waterway Risk in the Port of New Orleans: Phase 11 River, Grabowski, et al., 1995. The existing studies should be used to assess risks. Where there is a need to use or analyze additional information that is not available from the existing studies, follow-on studies can be undertaken. The Coast Guard has always taken the lead to identify and remove risks associated with marine transportation facilities and always has coordinated risk reduction activities with a broad range of customers. In addition, waterfront development projects are examined through participation in the Corps of Engineers' permitting process, thus ensuring consideration of the local safety conditions at the time. As indicated in our response to recommendation M-98-4, the Coast Guard continues to implement risk management initiatives in the Port of New Orleans. We request that this recommendation be closed.