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AIS and Audio Recording of Ship Collision
|Author||Topic: AIS and Audio Recording of Ship Collision|
posted 04-05-2014 11:39 AM ET (US)
On March 22, 2014, a collision occurred between M/V SUMMER WIND and a barge being towed ahead by the tug or tow boat MISS SUSAN. The SUMMER WIND struck the lead barge, resulting in a breach of the barge's tanks, and about 168,000-gallons of fuel oil was released into the water.
The SUMMER WIND is a 607-foot bulk carrier. She was inbound toward a traffic intersection known as the Texas City Y from the Gulf of Mexico.
Picture of MV SUMMER WIND at
The MISS SUSAN was towing two barges, and she attempted to cross the navigaton channel from West to East ahead of the SUMMER WIND.
The navigation rules regarding vessels operating in narrow channels are given in Rule 9 of the NAVIGATION RULES:
The assumption in this crossing is the MISS SUSAN should keep clear of the SUMMER WIND.
Both vessels had AIS transponders. A recording of their position via AIS and an audio recording of the VHF Marine Band radio communications have been used to create an animation which presumes to synchronize the time lines:
More newspaper coverage here:
The M/V SUMMER WIND was operating in the Houston Ship Channel, Bolivar Roads to lower end of Morgan Point, which has a minimum depth of 44-feet.
The MISS SUSAN was operating outside of the channel. The water depth in her vicinity was from 14 to 20-feet.
Also see this publication about the Houston Ship Channel:
posted 04-07-2014 09:29 PM ET (US)
That barge captain certainly screwed up.
posted 04-07-2014 11:10 PM ET (US)
I'll say he did, big time.
posted 04-08-2014 09:27 AM ET (US)
The traffic in the Houston Ship Canal is quite amazing. Reuters quotes one source as saying:
"a typical day in the channel includes movement of 60 to 80 large ships - tankers, freighters, containers and cruise ships - and 300 to 400 tug and barge movements."
That is an astonishing amount of vessel traffic in a waterway that is only about 500-feet wide.
posted 04-08-2014 09:32 AM ET (US)
I just checked on MARINETRAFFIC.COM for vessels around Houston. The AIS data shows about fifty--yes fifty!--ships are at anchor in the Gulf of Mexico, just outside the entrance to the ship canal. The USCG closed the canal to navigation following the collision, so there is probably a long back up of ships waiting to enter the port.
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