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Casualty briefs

Tanker’s external hull breached in collision with fishing boat off NY
A commercial fishing vessel collided with a loaded oil tanker in the open ocean off Long Island, N.Y., tearing open the crude carrier’s hull.

The incident happened at 1923 on May 12 about 30 miles southeast of Bridgehampton, N.Y. The 790-foot tanker Tofteviken sustained a 30-foot gash to its portside hull in the collision. The 84-foot fishing boat Polaris sustained bow and outrigger damage.

No one was injured on either vessel and there was no pollution. U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Ann Marie Gorden said the tanker’s internal hull was not breached.

“The outrigger initially hit the tanker, which turned the fishing vessel’s bow into the ship,” Gorden said, adding that the cause remains under investigation.

The Bahamas-flagged Tofteviken was bound for New York Harbor from Point Tupper, Nova Scotia, with a load of crude oil at the time, and Polaris was returning to New Bedford, Mass., after a fishing voyage, the Coast Guard said.

Tofteviken proceeded toward New York following the incident and Polaris returned to New Bedford. The tanker arrived at Ambrose Anchorage on May 13 and remained there until Coast Guard officials cleared it to enter the port.

Viken Shipping AS of Norway operates the 13-year-old Aframax tanker Tofteviken. The company referred questions to its manager, Wallem Ship Management of Hong Kong, which declined to comment during the investigation.

Polaris is part of the Eastern Fisheries fleet. The company, which operates the largest scallop fleet in the U.S., did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Fire leaps from Jonathon King Boyd after the cutter suction dredge hit a natural gas pipeline on April 17 near Port O’Connor, Texas. The crew escaped to a nearby good Samaritan vessel.

Courtesy Petra Hockey

Crew escapes after dredge hits Texas pipeline, burns
The Coast Guard is still looking for answers as to why a cutter suction dredge struck a buried natural gas pipeline and caught fire near Port O’Connor, Texas.

A spud from the 80-foot dredge barge Jonathon King Boyd reportedly punctured the Genesis Energy Tomcat West Pipeline at about 2000 on April 17. Natural gas condensate from the pipeline also caught fire.

“(The) dredge port spud pierced the pipeline when it was free-spooled down into the mud,” said Coast Guard Capt. Jason Smith, deputy sector commander at Air Station Corpus Christi. “(The) 3-inch hole in the pipeline corresponds to the 3-inch point on the spud cone.”

Jonathon King Boyd was spudded down and conducting normal dredging operations at mile marker 471 in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIW) when the accident occurred. The pipeline is buried about 10 feet under the mud line and appears on nautical charts, Smith said.

Eleven people aboard Jonathon King Boyd escaped to First State, a good Samaritan vessel operating nearby, without serious injury. The fire aboard the dredge was extinguished at about 1300 on April 18. The pipeline fire burned out about 90 minutes later.

Roughly six miles of the GIW was closed around the scene of the fire, and the Matagorda Ship Channel partially shut down as well.

An oil spill response organization deployed boom around the vessel. Smith said the gas condensate was light enough to burn off.

RLB Contracting operates the dredge barge. The company’s CEO did not respond to a voicemail message seeking comment.

Grain barge sinks in Vicksburg bridge strike
Five grain barges broke away and one sank after a 30-barge tow struck the Old Highway 80 Bridge over the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Miss.

The towboat Jeffrey G. was southbound pushing barges in a six-across, five-deep configuration when the lead barge in the starboard string hit pier No. 4 on the bridge, said Herman Smith, superintendent of the Vicksburg Bridge Commission. The incident happened at about 1400 on May 17.

“Looking at the video — we have a camera mounted on pier No. 4 — he couldn’t get the head (of the tow) to come around,” Smith said of the towboat captain, who was traveling along the right side of the navigation channel between piers No. 3 and No. 4 on the Louisiana side of the river.

“The current is so slow, I don’t know if he was expecting the current to shove the head of the tow around toward the channel,” Smith said. “By the looks of it, he came in at an angle that would be more appropriate for a faster current.”

The five barges in the starboard string broke free. Ergon Marine towboat crews helped round up the loose barges after the breakaway. The lead barge that struck the pier sank about 400 yards downriver. Salvage crews raised it about a month later.

The bridge, which carries rail traffic between Louisiana and Mississippi, sustained scratches. The Jeffrey G. tow was the fifth to hit the span this year.

Marquette Transportation operates the 8,000-hp, 155-foot Jeffrey G., which was built at Jeffboat and is now home-ported in St. Louis, Mo. A spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Tow’s impact damages Mardi Gras wharf
Authorities are trying to determine how an upbound barge tow slammed into a wharf near downtown New Orleans.

The 1,800-hp Steve Richoux was pushing six barges loaded with concrete when at least one hit the wharf behind the tourist destination Mardi Gras World. The New Orleans Fire Department said the wharf partially collapsed. No one was injured in the accident.

More than 200,000 people visit Mardi Gras World each year to see its collection of parade floats. Barry Kern, whose family runs the business, declined to comment. The Coast Guard also declined to comment on the case, as did Marquette Transportation, which owns the 43-year-old Steve Richoux.

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