Staten Island, New York
May 8, 2010
NTSB Number: MAR-12-01
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This is a synopsis from the Safety Board's report and does not include the
Board's rationale for the conclusions, probable cause, and safety
recommendations. Safety Board staff is currently making final revisions to the
report from which the attached conclusions and safety recommendations have been
extracted. The final report and pertinent safety recommendation letters will be
distributed to recommendation recipients as soon as possible. The attached
information is subject to further review and editing.
On Saturday, May 8, 2010, at 0918 eastern daylight time, the passenger ferry
Andrew J. Barberi allided with the terminal structure at slip No. 5 at the St.
George terminal, Staten Island, after a loss of propulsion control. Eighteen
crewmembers, 2 New York City police officers, 2 concessionaires, and 244
passengers were on board. As a result of the allision, 3 passengers sustained
serious injuries; 47 passengers, crew, and others reported minor injuries. The
damage to the vessel and the terminal structure totaled $182,238.
- Weather, qualifications of the crew, illegal drug or alcohol use, and
personal use of portable electronic devices were not factors in the accident.
- The emergency response by the Fire Department of the City of New York and
the New York City Police Department was timely and effective.
- A solenoid failure in a propulsion control panel on board the Andrew J.
Barberi rendered one of the vessel's two propellers unresponsive to propulsion
commands from the pilothouse.
- The pilothouse crewmembers were unaware of the loss of propulsion control
until seconds before the accident, and, as a result, they were unable to take
effective action to avoid the allision.
- Had the Andrew J. Barberi had an audible and visual alarm to alert the
pilothouse crewmembers to the loss of propulsion control, they may have been
able to avoid the allision by implementing emergency response procedures
prescribed in the New York City Department of Transportation Ferry Division's
safety management system.
- After the 2003 accident involving the Andrew J. Barberi, the New York City
Department of Transportation Ferry Division took a number of steps that improved
operational safety, including implementing a safety management system.
- The New York City Department of Transportation Ferry Division's safety
management system provided specific emergency procedures, which the crew and
shoreside personnel performed in a timely and effective manner, and this
benefited the passengers.
- Implementing safety management systems on all U.S.-flag passenger vessels
would further enhance operators' ability to achieve the higher standards of
safety that the Coast Guard requires of U.S. oceangoing vessels in international
- Although the Andrew J. Barberi's pilothouse closed-circuit television
captured certain accident-related information, it could not capture, record, and
safeguard important detailed data from vessel navigation and control systems, as
a voyage data recorder would have.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause
of the Andrew J. Barberi's allision with St. George terminal was a solenoid
failure, which caused a loss of propulsion control of one of the vessel's two
cycloidal propellers. Contributing to the accident was the propulsion system's
lack of a propeller pitch deviation alarm, which was not required by regulation,
but which would have alerted the pilothouse crew to the loss of propulsion
control and permitted prompt action.
To the U.S. Coast Guard:
1. Require new-construction U.S.-flag passenger
vessels with controllable pitch propulsion, including cycloidal propulsion, to
be equipped with alarms that audibly and visually alert the operator to
deviations between the operator's propulsion and steering commands and the
actual propeller response.
2. Where technically feasible, require existing
U.S.-flag passenger vessels with controllable pitch propulsion, including
cycloidal propulsion, to be retrofitted with alarms that audibly and visually
alert the operator to deviations between the operator's propulsion and steering
commands and the actual propeller response.
3. Require all operators of U.S.-flag passenger
vessels to implement safety management systems, taking into account the
characteristics, methods of operation, and nature of service of these vessels,
and, with respect to ferries, the sizes of the ferry systems within which the
Previous Recommendations Reiterated in This Report
To the U.S. Coast Guard:
4. Require installation of voyage data recorders
that meet the international performance standard on new ferry vessels. (M-10-5;
5. Require installation of voyage data recorders on
ferry vessels built before the enactment of voyage data recorder carriage
requirements that will record, at a minimum, the same video, audio, and
parametric data specified in the International Maritime Organization's
performance standard for simplified voyage data recorders. (M-10-6;
Previous Recommendations Reclassified in This Report
To the U.S. Coast Guard:
6. Seek legislative authority to require all
U.S.-flag ferry operators to implement safety management systems, and once
obtained, require all U.S.-flag ferry operators to do so. (M-05-6) Safety
Recommendation M-05-6 (previously classified "Open-Acceptable Response") is
classified "Closed-Superseded" by M-12-XX in section "3.3.2 Lack of SMS on
U.S.-Flag Passenger Vessels" in the report.