On January 9, 2023, the towing vessel Big D
was pushing 19 barges downbound on the Lower Mississippi River, and the towing vessel Carol McManus
was pushing 42 barges upbound on the river. At 0152 local time, the two tows collided at mile 312 near Fort Adams, Mississippi, causing the barges in both tows to break free. Several barges were damaged in the collision, and about 1,380 gallons of ethanol spilled into the waterway. Two minor injuries were reported. Damages to the vessels were estimated at $1.36 million.
We determined that the probable cause of the collision between the Big D tow and the Carol McManus tow was the Carol McManus pilot incorrectly recalling the agreed-upon passing arrangement, which resulted in the Carol McManus tow encroaching on the downbound Big D tow.