NTSB: Cell phone a cause of æDuck BoatÆ collision
The National Transportation Safety Board said one of the causes of an accident last July in which a sludge barge collided with an amphibious “duck boat” filled with tourists, was the failure of a tug to keep a proper lookout. Two tourists died in the accident and 26 suffered minor injuries.
In a synopsis of its findings the NTSB said the failure of the mate of the tugboat Caribbean Sea to maintain a proper lookout was “due to (1) his decision to operate the vessel from the lower wheelhouse, which was contrary to expectations and to prudent seamanship, and (2) distraction and inattentiveness as a result of his repeated personal use of his cell phone and the company laptop computer while he was solely responsible for navigating the vessel.” The mate was on the cell phone and computer trying to deal with a serious family medical emergency.
The report said contributing to the accident was the failure of the duckboat’s company to ensure a surge tank pressure cap was securely in place before allowing the vehicle to return to passenger service, and the failure of the captain of the duck boat to take actions appropriate to the risk of anchoring his vessel in an active navigation channel.