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Accident Report Detail

Subsea Pipeline Damage by Tug and Barge Valiant/Everglades

Executive Summary

The articulated tug and barge (ATB) unit Valiant/Everglades lost propulsion and drifted to within about 20 yards of the East Cameron (EC) 321A production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, forcing the shutdown of the platform and evacuation of its 35 crewmembers about 0600 on November 17, 2014. The captain of the Valiant ordered the anchor dropped to slow the vessel until propulsion was restored, and in the process of backing away, the anchor ruptured a subsea pipeline, causing an estimated $2 million in damage and the release of a total of about 249,800 mcf of natural gas. Neither the platform nor the vessel was damaged, and no one was injured.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the damage to the subsea natural gas pipeline was the anchor from the Valiant/Everglades dragging across the pipeline after the vessel lost starting air pressure and propulsion due to the opening of an unprotected air system valve on deck.

Accident Location:   , TX   Gulf of Mexico about 120 nautical miles southeast of Galveston
Accident Date: 11/17/2014
Accident ID: DCA15LM003

Date Adopted: 7/31/2015
NTSB Number: MAB-15-15
NTIS Number:  

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