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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-98-009
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 BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS: AS PART OF THE PERMIT-APPROVAL PROCESS FOR NEW COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ALONG THE WHARVES WITHIN YOUR JURISDICTION, REQUIRE THAT ANY NEW CONSTRUCTION OF OCCUPIED SPACE BE SITED BEHIND A BUFFER ZONE SUFFICIENT TO PROTECT PERSON AND PROPERTY BY SAFELY ABSORBING THE IMPACT SHOULD A VESSEL STRIKE THE WHARF.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Reconsidered
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: 11/15/2006
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Board of River Port Pilot Commissioners for the Port of New Orleans (Closed - Reconsidered)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Board of River Port Pilot Commissioners for the Port of New Orleans
Date: 11/15/2006
Response: The Safety Board has again reviewed the Board of Commissioners' May 28, 1998, response, which explained that it had long required that new structures built to contain large numbers of people be set back substantially from the face of the wharf. The Board of Commissioners also offered to share with the International Rivercenter the associated costs of extending their wharves; however, it has no legal authority to require the extension of the wharf. Because the Board of Commissioners had the authority prior to the Board's issuing the recommendation, Safety Recommendation M-98-9 is classified "Closed-Reconsidered."

From: NTSB
To: Board of River Port Pilot Commissioners for the Port of New Orleans
Date: 4/15/2004
Response: On January 11, 2000, based on initiatives outlined in the Board of Commissioners' May 28, 1998, letter, Safety Recommendations M-98-9, -10, and -12 were classified "Open--Acceptable Response," pending an update on the initiatives from the commissioners. In the Safety Board's letter, Safety Recommendation M-98-11 was classified "Open--Unacceptable Response," pending the commissioners' reconsideration of their initial response and action to implement the recommendation. Because the Board had not received any further response from the Board of Commissioners, on October 10, 2001, the Safety Board requested further information on action taken or being taken to implement Safety Recommendations M-98-9 through -12. Companion recommendations M-98-1, -2 and -4 (corresponding to M-98-10, -11, and -12) were issued to the U.S. Coast Guard, also as a result of the Bright Field report. On June 11, 2002, in consideration of the Coast Guard's efforts to work with the Board of Commissioners and other stakeholders, Safety Recommendation M-98-1 was classified "Closed--Acceptable Action." Accordingly, Safety Recommendation M-98-10 is also classified "Closed--Acceptable Action." On October 22, 2001, in response to the Coast Guard's April 3, 2001, letter, Safety Recommendations M-98-2 and -4 were classified "Closed--Unacceptable Action," because the Coast Guard, the lead agency, 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. Because the Board of Commissioners has not provided any information since its May 28, 1998, letter, in which it disagreed with the Safety Board's recommendation, Safety Recommendation M-98-11 is classified "Closed--Unacceptable Action." Because the Coast Guard, the lead Federal agency responsible for instituting safety measures in the port, has decided to take no further action to institute risk-mitigation initiatives, Safety Recommendation M-98-12 is classified "Closed--No Longer Applicable." The Safety Board remains interested in receiving an update on the implementation of Safety Recommendation M-98-9. Although three recommendations are being closed, the risk of Bright Field-type accidents has not diminished in the Port of New Orleans. The Bright Field accident occurred in December 1996. On October 24, 2002, another accident occurred when the inbound tanker Chilbar lost steering as it approached the New Orleans Riverwalk area but veered aside, making light contact with the dock. The Safety Board cautions that the next Bright Field-type accident has the potential to cause catastrophic consequences for the Port of New Orleans.

From: NTSB
To: Board of River Port Pilot Commissioners for the Port of New Orleans
Date: 10/10/2001
Response: On January 11, 2000, based on information provided in the Board of Commissioners’ May 28, 1998, letter, Safety Recommendations M-98-9, -10, and -12 were classified "Open--Acceptable Response," pending receipt of further information from the Board of Commissioners. In the January 11, 2000, letter, Safety Recommendation M-98-11 was classified "Open--Unacceptable Response," pending the Board of Commissioners’ reconsideration of its initial response and action to implement the recommendation. To date, the Safety Board has not received any further response from the Board of Commissioners and would appreciate being informed about the efforts that have been made or are being made to implement Safety Recommendations M-98-9 through -12. Please address your response to Ms. Marion C. Blakey, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board, and refer to the recommendations by number.

From: NTSB
To: Board of River Port Pilot Commissioners for the Port of New Orleans
Date: 1/11/2000
Response: IF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS DOES NOT HAVE THE LEGAL AUTHORITY TO REQUIRE THE RECOMMENDED ACTION, THE SAFETY BOARD WOULD APPRECIATE LEARNING THE BASIS ON WHICH THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS HAS "LONG REQUIRED" THAT NEW STRUCTURES BE SUBSTANTIALLY SET BACK. THE SAFETY BOARD WOULD ALSO LIKE TO KNOW THE IDENTITY OF THE ENTITY THAT HAS THE APPROPRIATE LEGAL AUTHORITY. THE SAFETY BOARD IS PLEASED TO LEARN THAT THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS CONTINUES TO WORK WITH THE INTERNATIONAL RIVERCENTER, THE HILTON HOTEL, AND THE RIVERWALK MARKETPLACE TO ENCOURAGE THE CONSTRUCTION OF A MINIMUM 50-FOOT RIVERSIDE EXTENSION TO THE POYDRAS STREET WHARF AND HAS OFFERED TO SHARE IN THE COST. THE SAFETY BOARD ENCOURAGES THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS TO PERSIST IN ITS EFFORTS TO PROTECT PEOPLE AND PROPERTY FROM VESSEL IMPACT. PENDING FURTHER RESPONSE ON THE STATUS OF THESE EFFORTS, HOW THIS RECOMMENDATION WILL BE IMPLEMENTED, AND WHO HAS THE AUTHORITY TO REQUIRE IMPLEMENTATION, M-98-9 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: Board of River Port Pilot Commissioners for the Port of New Orleans
To: NTSB
Date: 5/28/1998
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/4/98 12:41:23 PM MC# 980711 OUR BOARD HAS LONG REQUIRED THAT NEW "PEOPLECENTER" STRUCTURES BE SET BACK SUBSTANTIALLY FROM THE FACE OF THE WHARF SO AS TO PROTECT PERSONS AND PROPERTY FROM A VESSEL IMPACT. WE CONTINUE TO WORK WITH INTERNATIONAL RIVERCENTER, HILTON HOTEL AND RIVERWALK TO ENCOURAGE CONSTRUCTION OF A MINIMUM 50-FOOT RIVERSIDE EXTENSION OF THE POYDRAS STREET WHARF, INCLUDING OFFERING TO SHARE IN THE COST; AND WE ARE HOPEFUL THAT THIS WORK WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED. WE HAVE NO LEGAL RECOURSE, HOWEVER, TO REQUIRE THAT THIS BE DONE.