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Accident Report Detail

Collision of Tugboat/Barge Caribbean Sea/The Resource with Amphibious Passenger Vehicle DUKW 34

Executive Summary

On Wednesday, July 7, 2010, the empty 250-foot-long sludge barge The Resource, being towed alongside the 78.9-foot-long tugboat Caribbean Sea, collided with the anchored 33-foot-long amphibious passenger vehicle DUKW 34 in the Delaware River at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. DUKW 34 carried 35 passengers and 2 crewmembers. On board the Caribbean Sea were five crewmembers. As a result of the collision, DUKW 34 sank in about 55 feet of water. Two passengers were fatally injured, and 26 passengers suffered minor injuries. No one on the Caribbean Sea was injured. Damage to DUKW 34 totaled $130,470. Damage to the barge was minimal; no repairs were made.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the mate of the Caribbean Sea to maintain a proper lookout due to (1) his decision to operate the vessel from the lower wheelhouse, which was contrary to expectations and to prudent seamanship, and (2) distraction and inattentiveness as a result of his repeated personal use of his cell phone and company laptop computer while he was solely responsible for navigating the vessel. Contributing to the accident was the failure of Ride The Ducks International maintenance personnel to ensure that DUKW 34‘s surge tank pressure cap was securely in place before allowing the vehicle to return to passenger service on the morning of the accident, and the failure of the DUKW 34 master to take actions appropriate to the risk of anchoring his vessel in an active navigation channel.

Accident Location: Philadelphia , PA    
Accident Date: 7/7/2010
Accident ID: DCA10MM025

Date Adopted: 6/21/2011
NTSB Number: MAR-11-02
NTIS Number: PB2011-916402