NTSB ID: DCA10MM025
Event Type: Collision
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Date: July 7, 2010
On Wednesday, July 7, 2010, the empty 250-foot-long sludge barge The Resource, being towed alongside the 78.9-foot-long towing vessel M/V Caribbean Sea, collided with the anchored 33-foot amphibious small passenger vessel DUKW 34 in the Delaware River near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The DUKW 34, operated by Ride the Ducks, carried 35 passengers and 2 crewmembers. On board the Caribbean Sea were 5 crewmembers. As a result of the allision, the DUKW 34 sank in about 55 feet of water. Two passengers were fatally injured, and 10 passengers suffered minor injuries. No one on the Caribbean Sea was injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the mate of the Caribbean Sea to maintain a proper lookout due to (1) his decision to operate the vessel from the lower wheelhouse, which was contrary to expectations and to prudent seamanship, and (2) distraction and inattentiveness as a result of his repeated personal use of his cell phone and the company laptop computer while he was solely responsible for navigating the vessel. Contributing to the accident was the failure of Ride The Ducks International maintenance personnel to ensure that DUKW 34's surge tank pressure cap was securely in place before allowing the vehicle to return to passenger service, and the failure of the DUKW 34 master to take actions appropriate to the risk of anchoring his vessel in an active navigation channel.
Media Contact: Keith Holloway, 202-314-6100