'Abnormality' in tanker’s governor actuator led to allision, fire

Two pilots on Aframax River sustained burns and 88,000 gallons of fuel spilled
Courtesy NTSB
Aframax River burns after striking mooring dolphins in the Houston Ship Channel. The tug David B., seen in the foreground, rendered assistance.

The following is a marine accident brief from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB):

(WASHINGTON) — On Sept. 6, 2016, about 0005 local time, the tanker Aframax River allided with two mooring dolphins in the Houston Ship Channel (HSC) near Deer Park, Texas. The allision punctured the ship’s hull plating and about 88,000 gallons of low-sulfur marine gas oil spilled into the water. The oil ignited and burned for about 45 minutes. The two onboard pilots sustained minor burns, and the property damage exceeded $1.5 million.

Probable cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of Aframax River’s allision with mooring dolphins and the subsequent fire in the waterway was a momentary abnormality of the tanker’s main engine governor actuator system in responding to command inputs from the bridge.

Click here to read the full report.

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