NTSB reports on deadly collision between fishing vessel and Odfjell tanker

The probable cause of the collision near Galveston, Texas, on January 14th 2020 between inbound tanker Bow Fortune (IMO 9168635) and the outbound commercial fishing vessel Pappy’s Pride (IMO 8940048) was the captain of the Pappy’s Pride’s outbound course toward the ship channel. This created a close quarters situation in restricted visibility, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has said in Marine Accident Brief 21/21, released late last week. A contributory factor was the lack of communication from the captain of the Pappy’s Pride, the investigation found.

The fatal collision between the 37,395 dwt Odfjell-managed chemical tanker and the 81.7ft American commercial fishing vessel occurred while the Bow Fortune was transiting inbound in the Outer Bar Channel. At the same time the Pappy’s Pride was transiting outbound. The two vessels collided in dense fog causing the fishing vessel to capsize and sink. Three of the four crewmembers aboard the fishing vessel died. While the fourth sustained serious injuries. There were no injuries to the pilot or crew of 28 on board the Bow Fortune. A surface sheen of diesel was reported. The fishing vessel was a total loss valued at $575,000 (IMN January 17th, 2020).

Prior to the collision the pilot of the Bow Fortune used VHF radio to hail the Pappy’s Pride three times. The Bow Fortune also sounded two danger signals. The Pappy’s Pride’s captain had radar, automatic radar plotting aid and electronic charts onboard that were capable of showing the automatic identification system (AIS) information of nearby vessels. The Pappy’s Pride AIS history showed that the captain made multiple course changes, indicating he was actively steering; however, the Pappy’s Pride did not reply to any of the radio calls or danger signals.

Investigators determined the probable cause of the collision was the captain of the Pappy’s Pride’s outbound course toward the ship channel, which created a close quarters situation in restricted visibility. Contributing to the collision was the lack of communication from the captain of the Pappy’s Pride.

” Early communication can be an effective measure in averting close quarters situations,”  the report said. ” The use of VHF radio can help to dispel assumptions and provide operators with the information needed to better assess each vessel’s intentions.”

1999-built, Norway-flagged, 23,230 Bow Fortune is owned by Goldex Fortune Ltd care of Bocimar International NV of Antwerp, Belgium. It is managed by Odfjell Asia II Pte Ltd of Singapore. ISM manager is Odfjell Management AS of Bergen, Norway. It is entered with Gard P&I Club on behalf of Goldex Fortune Ltd.

1996-built, USA-flagged, 142 gt Pappy’s Pride is currently recorded as being owned and managed by Master Jombo Inc of Alvin, Texas, USA.