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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-98-011
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: PARTICIPATE WITH THE USCG GUARD AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS IN A COMPREHENSIVE RISK ASSESSMENT THAT CONSIDERS ALL ACTIVITIES, MARINE AND 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: 4/15/2004
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Board of River Port Pilot Commissioners for the Port of New Orleans (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
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: 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. Copies of our correspondence regarding these recommendations are enclosed.

From: NTSB
To: Board of River Port Pilot Commissioners for the Port of New Orleans
Date: 1/11/2000
Response: THE SAFETY BOARD IS AWARE THAT VARIOUS RISK ASSESSMENTS HAD BEEN COMPLETED BEFORE THE RECOMMENDATION WAS ISSUED. THIS ACCIDENT, HOWEVER, DEMONSTRATED THAT MANY STAKEHOLDERS HAD NOT PREPARED FOR SUCH AN EVENT. THE PREVIOUS STUDIES, HAD YIELDED ENOUGH INFORMATION FOR THE PORT STAKEHOLDERS TO RECOGNIZE THE POSSIBILITY OF HAVING 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. THE SAFETY BOARD INTENDED THAT THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS WORK WITH THE COAST GUARD AND OTHER PORT STAKEHOLDERS TO FURTHER EVALUATE THE RISKS TO PEOPLE AND PROPERTY IN THIS AREA AND TO USE THE PREVIOUS STUDIES ONLY AS A BASELINE. THE NEW STUDY SHOULD USE LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE BRIGHT FIELD ACCIDENT IN DETERMINING THE BEST WAY OF REDUCING OR ELIMINATING THE RISKS TO PEOPLE, PROPERTY, AND THE PORT. HOWEVER, WE UNDERSTAND NO NEW STUDIES ARE PLANNED. THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER ALL OPTIONS, INCLUDING THE OPTIONS OF REMOVING THE VESSELS FROM THE HARBOR AREA, PROVIDING SOME PROTECTION AGAINST VESSEL STRIKES, AND DEVELOPING AN OPERATIONAL PROCEDURE TO HELP MITIGATE THE RISK OF VESSEL STRIKES. ACCORDINGLY, THE BOARD ENCOURAGES THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS TO RECONSIDER ITS RESPONSE AND TO IMPLEMENT THE SAFETY RECOMMENDATION. PENDING FURTHER RESPONSE, M-98-11 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: Board of River Port Pilot Commissioners for the Port of New Orleans
To: NTSB
Date: 11/6/1998
Response: Mistaken entry. Letter related to other recommendations.

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 DR. GRANITO AND WE AGREE THAT THE RISK ASSESSMENT STUDIES ALREADY CONDUCTED ARE COMPREHENSIVE BOTH IN TERMS OF RISKS AND STAKEHOLDERS AND THAT A COMPLETE RE-WORKING OF THOSE STUDIES WOULD NOT BE PRODUCTIVE. DR. GRANITO SUGGESTS THAT A THIRD PARTY REVIEW BE CONDUCTED OF THE ONGOING COMPREHENSIVE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND RESPONSE PLANNING EFFORT LED BY OUR DIRECTOR OF SAFETY AND SECURITY. WE HAVE COMMISSIONED HIM TO CONDUCT SUCH A REVIEW.