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NTSB DETERMINES UNCORRECTED SHEERING MOTION CAUSES EAGLE OTOME COLLISION WITH TWO OTHER VESSELS; FATIGUE AND DISTRACTION ALSO CONTRIBUTED



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                      NTSB PRESS RELEASE

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National Transportation Safety Board

Washington, DC 20594

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 27, 2011

 

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NTSB DETERMINES UNCORRECTED SHEERING MOTION CAUSES EAGLE

OTOME COLLISION WITH TWO OTHER VESSELS; FATIGUE AND

DISTRACTION ALSO CONTRIBUTED

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Transportation Safety Board

determined today that the failure of Eagle Otome's first

pilot to correct sheering motions that began as a result of

the late initiation of a turn at a mild bend in the waterway

was the probable cause of the January 23,2010, collision of

the tankship Eagle Otome with cargo vessel Gulf Arrow and

the subsequent collision with Dixie Vengeance tow.

 

Contributing to the collisions, which caused an estimated

462,000 gallons of oil to spill into the Sabine-Neches

canal, was the first pilot's fatigue, caused by his

untreated obstructive sleep apnea and his work schedule,

which did not permit time for adequate sleep; and his

distraction from conducting a radio call, which the second

pilot should have handled in accordance with guidelines; and

the lack of effective bridge resource management by both

pilots. Also contributing to the accident was lack of

oversight by the Jefferson and Orange County Board of Pilot

Commissioners.

 

"The NTSB has long been concerned about fatigue in the

marine industry, and this accident highlights the very real

consequences of degraded performance," said NTSB Chairman

Deborah A.P. Hersman. "Additionally, guidelines for

operating in this tricky stretch of waterway were

established 30 years ago to increase the margin of safety

and offset human error, but unfortunately, in this accident,

they were not followed."

 

As a result of this accident, the NTSB issued 10 new safety

recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Jefferson and

Orange County Board of Pilot Commissioners, the Sabine

Pilots Association, the governors of states and territories

in which state and local pilots operate, and the American

Pilots' Association. The Safety Board also reiterated a

previously issued recommendation to the U.S. Coast Guard.

 

A synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause,

findings, and a complete list of the safety recommendations,

is available on the NTSB's website. The NTSB's full report

will be available on the website in several weeks.

 

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NTSB Media Contact:

Bridget Serchak

202-314-6100

Bridget.serchak@xxxxxxxx

 

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