NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


May 30, 2007

Washington, DC -- The National Transportation Safety Board today determined that the probable cause of the grounding of the New Delhi Express was the error of the docking pilot in not using all available resources to determine the vessel's position as he navigated the Kill Van Kull waterway.

Contributing to the cause of the grounding was the failure of both pilots to practice good bridge resource management.

"This accident could have been prevented if the pilots on the vessel had exercised proper bridge resource management," said NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker. "Since 1974, the Safety Board has investigated numerous accidents where the officers on the bridge and pilots failed to function as a team and we have issued numerous recommendations to prevent these types of accidents."

On April 15, 2006, the container ship New Delhi Express arrived at the entrance of New York Harbor after a transatlantic voyage. Aboard the vessel were a master, 21 crewmembers, three passengers, and a Sandy Hook pilot. A docking pilot boarded the vessel near Kill Van Kull and assumed the navigational control. The ship was traveling westbound in zero visibility fog when it struck a submerged ledge, took on water through a hull breach caused by the impact and ran aground in the waterway. At the time of the accident, the docking pilot was navigating the vessel. Two of the three tugs assisting the ship were also damaged. There were no fatalities or injuries.

As a result of this accident, the safety Board made the following recommendations:

To the U.S. Coast Guard:

1. Use the circumstances of this accident related to the improper redeployment of buoy 14 in Kill Van Kull waterway as a "lesson learned" and disseminate the information to appropriate personnel, emphasizing the need to verify all buoy positioning data during routine position checks and during buoy redeployments.

To State Commissions whose harbor pilots work with docking pilots:

2. Require your harbor and docking pilots to take part in recurrent joint training exercises that emphasize the concept and procedures of bridge resource management.

A synopsis of the Board's report, including the probable cause and recommendations, is available on the Board's website, www.ntsb.gov, under "Board Meetings." The Board's full report will be available on the website in several weeks.

NTSB Media Contact:
Terry N. Williams



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.