Marine Accident Report

Allision of Bahamas-Registered Tankship
M/V Kition with Interstate Highway 10 Bridge Pier
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
February 10, 2007

NTSB Number MAR-08/03
NTIS Number PB2008-916403

Executive Summary:

About 0730 on February 10, 2007, the Bahamas-registered tankship M/V Kition, carrying a load of carbon black (a petroleum product), moved away from its berth at the Apex Oil terminal on the right descending (west) bank of the Mississippi River just upriver of the Interstate Highway 10 bridge at Baton Rouge. A Louisiana state pilot was navigating. The pilot used three tugs, one pulling on the bow and two pushing on the stern, to turn the vessel from the dock for a planned trip downriver.

When the nearly 800-foot-long vessel was approximately parallel to the bridge, the second officer on the bow warned that the bow appeared about to hit the bridge pier. The master and pilot both ordered the engine to full astern, but about 3 minutes later, the Kition’s underwater hull (bulbous bow) struck the fender system around the pier. The fender system began to collapse, and the tug at the bow let go of its line and backed clear. Moments later, the bulwark on the starboard bow of the Kition struck the bridge pier, knocking out a 2- to 3-foot section of concrete. The accident caused an estimated $8 million in damage to the bridge. The Kition sustained hull damage estimated at $726,500. No one was injured and there was no pollution.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Kition’s allision with the Interstate Highway 10 bridge at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was the pilot’s attempt to execute the high-risk maneuver of turning at the dock immediately above the bridge rather than moving the vessel downriver through the bridge before turning or taking it well upriver, then turning.

The safety issues identified in the investigation are as follows:

As a result of its investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board makes recommendations to the U.S. Coast Guard and to the Board of New Orleans–Baton Rouge Steamship Pilot Examiners for the Mississippi River.