On November 21, 2021, about 1210 local time, the towing vessel Marquette Warrior, with nine crewmembers, was pushing 35 loaded dry cargo barges downbound on the Lower Mississippi River near Greenville, Mississippi, when the online electrical generator failed and the vessel subsequently lost steering. Several barges grounded on the riverbank, and four barges were damaged, including a hopper barge that partially sank. No pollution or injuries were reported. Damage to the vessel, barges, and cargo was estimated at $1,242,500.
We determined that the probable cause of the grounding of the towing vessel Marquette Warrior was a loss of steering, likely due to a wiring harness within an electrical generator that was improperly positioned during a maintenance inspection, resulting in the harness contacting the terminal posts, eventually causing the loss of 3-phase electrical power to the steering pump motors.
Electrical Equipment Maintenance
Proper operation and maintenance of electrical equipment is required to avoid damage to vessel critical systems and prevent potentially serious crew injuries, particularly for electrical systems with high and medium voltage and equipment with uninsulated and exposed components. Electrical equipment should be installed, serviced, and maintained by qualified personnel familiar with the construction and operation of the equipment and the hazards involved.