Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-98-004
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 APPROPRIATE STAKEHOLDERS, INCLUDING FEDERAL STATE, & LOCAL AGENCIES; PRIVATE COMMERCIAL ENTITIES; SHIPOWNERS; & PILOT ASSOCIATIONS, IMPLEMENT RISK-MANAGEMENT & RISK-MITIGATION INITIATIVES THAT WILL ENSURE THE SAFETY OF PEOPLE & PROPERTY 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-98-4) be closed. We request that the Board refer to our previous correspondence on these recommendations (M-98-4) 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 understands the the Coast Guard, the Board of Commissioners, the State and local governments and the marine industry have undertaken a number of initiatives since the accident, including a review of passenger vessel mooring locations along the left descending bank. From the Coast Guard response, and from the Board of Commissioners for the Port of New Orleans' letter of 5/28/98, the Safety Board understands that the Coast Guard, with the Board of Commissioners and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is reviewing and will use studies, historical casualty data, and local expertise to help assess the risks. However, because all of this activity uses historcal studies and data which do not account for the serious risk demonstrated by the Bright Field allision, the risk-management and risk-mitigation actions are unlikely to be effective in preventing another such accident. The Board urges the Coast Guard to accomplish the comprehensive assessment recommended in M-98-2, and reconsider its response to this recommendation. M-98-4 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 concur with this recommendation. The Coast Guard, in conjunction with state and local governments and our partners in the marine industry, has already undertaken a number of initiatives since the M/V Bright Field casualty to reduce and mitigate risk. Among them are: development of the River Crisis Action plan for the Lower Mississippi River to provide guidance to all segments of the marine industry for operating in high risk river conditions; formation of the Enhanced River Safety Initiative Quality Action Team to examine the practices of deep-draft vessels operating on the Lower Mississippi River; convening of a Downstreaming Quality Action Team to make recommendations to industry for reducing the number of fleet-boat casualties during high water; amending the Mississippi River Regulated Navigation Area to require additional safety enhancements for deep-draft and passenger vessels operating in the New Orleans area; developing the Ports and Waterways Safety System Vessel Traffic Service for the Lower Mississippi River; and, compiling and analyzing statistics of vessel casualties on the Lower Mississippi River to develop a strategy to reduce them. In view of these initiatives, we request that this recommendation be closed.