Weld failure on mooring equipment led to barge smashing fishing pier

It was the failure of a weld that led to a barge breaking loose from its mooring and badly damaging a pier in Hampton, Virginia, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has said in a Marine Accident Brief.

Before dawn on November 17th 2019, in stormy weather, construction barge YD 71 broke free from its mooring subsequently drifting some two miles south. The barge subsequently grounded on a beach just north of the James T Wilson fishing pier in Hampton, Virginia.

Emergency responders were unable to stop the barge continuing its drift southwards along the beach, where it ultimately struck the fishing pier with sufficient force to cause the collapse of two of the pier’s 40ft concrete spans to collapse.

Nobody was aboard the barge or on the pier when the accident occurred and no-one was injured. However, about $1.3m in damage was caused to the pier and the barge (mainly the pier).

The NTSB determined that a shackle pin in the mooring arrangement had worked itself loose in the heavy weather, which resulted in the barge’s uncontrolled drift.

The barge was owned/operated by Soggy Bottom Corp / Coastal Design & Construction Inc.