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Accident Report Detail

Marine Accident Brief: Grounding and Sinking of Fishing Vessel Southern Bell

Executive Summary

​On October 13, 2017, at 0705 local time, the uninspected fishing vessel Southern Bell grounded outside of the east jetty for the entrance to the Sabine Pass Channel, an outlet for the Sabine and Neches Rivers into the Gulf of Mexico. The vessel heeled over on its port side and began flooding through open doors to the engine room and accommodation space before sinking. The captain and two crewmembers entered the water and were rescued by a Good Samaritan vessel nearby without suffering any injuries. A light oil sheen and debris were later observed. The vessel, valued at an estimated $519,000, was determined to be unsalvageable.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the grounding and subsequent sinking of the Southern Bell was the captain’s decision to leave the wheelhouse unattended while still making way as the vessel approached the entrance channel to Sabine Pass.

Accident Location:   , TX USA Gulf of Mexico, east of Sabine Pass Jetty Channel, 29°39.23’ N, 93°49.42’ W
Accident Date: 10/13/2017
Accident ID: DCA18FM001

Date Adopted: 6/4/2018
NTSB Number: MAB1813
NTIS Number:  

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