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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-07-008
Synopsis: About 1155 central daylight time on the day of the accident, the uninspected towing vessel Miss Megan was pushing two deck barges in Louisiana’s West Cote Blanche Bay oil field, en route to a pile-driving location. Construction barge Athena 106 was tied along the port side of deck barge IBR 234, and the Miss Megan was secured astern of IBR 234. While the vessels were under way, the aft spud (a 5-ton steel shaft used as a mooring device) on the Athena 106 released from its fully raised position. The spud dropped into the water and struck a submerged, buried high-pressure natural gas pipeline. The resulting gas release ignited and created a fireball that engulfed the towing vessel and both barges. The master of the towing vessel was killed, along with four barge workers. The Miss Megan deckhand and one barge worker survived. One barge worker is officially listed as missing.
Recommendation: The National Transportation Safety Board therefore recommends that Central Boat Rentals and Athena Construction: Develop procedures and provide initial and recurrent training to the employees on your barges to use the securing pins to hold spuds safely in place before transiting from one site to another.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Marine
Location: Franklin, LA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: DCA07MM001
Accident Reports:
Fire Aboard Construction Barge Athena 106
Report #: MAR-07-01
Accident Date: 10/12/2006
Issue Date: 7/11/2007
Date Closed: 2/11/2008
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Athena Construction, LLC (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Central Boat Rentals, Inc. (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Training and Education

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Central Boat Rentals, Inc.
Date: 1/2/2008
Response: Safety Board staff and Mr. Adams discussed the action taken by Central Boat Rentals to address this recommendation prior to receipt of his e-mail, which included a copy of Central Boat Rentals’ Spud Securing Policy and Procedures. The Safety Board has reviewed these procedures and found them to satisfy the recommendation. We are also pleased that Central Boat Rentals is providing initial and recurrent training to its employees about the proper method of securing pins to hold spuds safely in place before a barge transits from one site to another. The Safety Board notes that crews will be required to demonstrate competency with the company’s procedures and will be provided a copy of the policy and procedures for future reference. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation M-07-8 is classified Closed Acceptable Action.

From: Central Boat Rentals, Inc.
Date: 9/7/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/13/2007 1:12:37 PM MC# 20704889-7-07 As per our telephone conversation, enclosed is the Central Boat Rentals, In Spud Securing Policy, Procedures, and Training which was required by the final ruling as handed down by the NTSB, Reference (M-07- 8). If you have any further questions and/or comments, please feel free to give me a call. David Adams, Safety Director, Central Boat Rentals, Inc., Phone (985) 384-8200, Fax (985) 384-8455.

From: NTSB
To: Athena Construction, LLC
Date: 2/11/2008
Response: The Safety Board is pleased that Athena Construction LLC has developed safety procedures and is providing initial and recurrent training to its employees on the proper method of securing pins to hold spuds safely in place before a barge transits from one site to another. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation M-07-8 is classified Closed Acceptable Action.

From: Athena Construction, LLC
Date: 10/3/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/10/2007 8:42:38 AM MC# 2070558: Since you and all of the members of the NTSB board are so willing to sacrifice another American freedom to save lives, I know that you would be willing to sacrifice one of your own freedoms to save lives. Since the vast majority of auto accidents are head injuries, why limit the protection of helmets to a small minority of vehicles? Let's mandate helmets for ALL vehicles. That would save far more lives than just mandating them for motorcycles. Common sense would dictate this. We could save even more lives if we outlawed cigarettes. It is common sense that they kill and the state should be able to take away informed freedom of choice on this issue as well. If the state made this choice for us, it would save far more lives than auto and motorcycle accidents combined. The nerve of people thinking that we should bear the "burden" of their medical bills. While we're at it, alcohol kills even more people. The nerve of these people thinking that that they should have informed freedom of choice to drink alcohol. This freedom should be taken away and the choice should be made by the state. Oh yes, we did try this once and freedom loving people rose up against it. Sound familiar to the fight for freedom of choice regarding helmet laws. There should also not be any freedom of choice on eating fatty food as well. Health complications from this cause more annual deaths than motorcycle and auto accidents combined in a decade! The state should take the individual's informed freedom of choice and make that decision for them. The nerve of people thinking that we should have to foot the costs of their medical bills. The bottom line here is that it is not helmets that is the issue, it is the HELMET LAW. If it is right for the state to legislate the risk out of life for one group, it will be right for them to legislate the risk for all. Is this the direction we really want our society to go? This is still America, isn't it? In the end your advocacy of mandating helmets is turning the very people who you claim to be trying to save against you and any efforts to improve safety. This has the direct effect of making those efforts ineffective. Would it not make more sense to engage motorcyclists in your efforts rather than alienating them?