NTSB: Weld failure caused barge to break free, strike Virginia pier

The incident in Hampton, Va., resulted in $1.38 million in damage

(WASHINGTON) — The failure of a weld ultimately led to a barge breaking loose from its mooring and heavily damaging a pier, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a marine accident brief issued Thursday.

On Nov. 17, 2019, sometime before sunrise, a construction barge broke free from its mooring in stormy weather and drifted about two miles to the south before it contacted and damaged an entertainment pier and grounded on a beach in Hampton, Va.

Emergency responders were notified but were unable to stop the barge’s continued movement down the beach, where it ultimately contacted the James T. Wilson Fishing Pier. The contact caused two of the pier’s 40-foot concrete spans to collapse.

Nobody was aboard the barge or on the pier when the accident occurred. No one was injured in the accident, which resulted in more than $1 million in damage to the pier and about $38,000 to the barge.

Investigators determined a weld on the shackle that connected the barge to the mooring chain failed, allowing the barge to go adrift.

The eight-page report is available here.

– National Transportation Safety Board

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The damaged James T. Wilson Fishing Pier is shown on Nov. 17, 2019. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Categories: Casualty News