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Accident Report Detail

​Marine Accident Brief: Capsizing and Sinking of Towing Vessel Ricky Robinson

Executive Summary

​On December 8, 2017, about 1126 local time, the Ricky Robinson capsized and sank on the Lower Mississippi River at mile 732.8 near Memphis, Tennessee, with two crewmembers on board, after the towing vessel began taking on water. The pilot made a distress call just before the sinking; neither crewmember was found during the search and rescue operations that followed. When the vessel was recovered 9 days later, the deckhand’s body was discovered inside the wreckage; the pilot is presumed to be dead. Approximately 200 gallons of diesel oil were released into the river. Damage to the Ricky Robinson was estimated at $1.5 million.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the sinking of the towing vessel Ricky Robinson was the pilot’s decision to proceed with unsecured deck hatches at a speed that resulted in water on deck and flooding of the aft voids. Contributing to the sinking was the company’s inadequate oversight to ensure that crews kept hatches closed while the vessel was under way and that ongoing watertight issues with the voids were addressed.

Accident Location: Memphis , TN USA Lower Mississippi River, mile 732.8; 35°07.11’ N, 090°06.50’ W
Accident Date: 12/8/2017
Accident ID: DCA18FM007

Date Adopted: 12/19/2018
NTSB Number: MAB1827
NTIS Number:  

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