The incident

On December 6, 2017, the Panama-flagged container ship 'Helsinki Bridge' was moored in the Reserved Channel port side to the Paul W. Conley Container Terminal in Boston, Massachusetts.

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The ship was conducting cargo operations at night, during a period of moderate-to-high winds. During these operations, a mooring bollard to which five of the vessel’s head lines were secured failed. As a result of this failure, the wind drifted the vessel away from the terminal and the other nine mooring lines parted.

Credit: USCG

After that, the ship’s bow swung across the channel and hit the Raymond L. Flynn Black Falcon Cruise Terminal pier.

There were no reports of pollution and no injuries among the 24 crewmembers and 10 longshoremen, who were on board at the time of the incident. The damage was estimated at $570,000 for the vessel and $40,500 for both terminals.

Probable cause

After conducting an investigation, the US National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the probable cause of the breakaway and allision of the container ship with the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal was the failure of Massachusetts Port Authority to provide suitable berthing arrangements during ongoing construction at the Conley Container Terminal. This caused the overloading and failure of a single mooring bollard.

What is more, the lack of preparation by the vessel’s master, also played an important role in the incident. The mast was aware of the less than suitable mooring arrangements and the deteriorating weather forecast. However, he did not take mitigating measures to address the situation.

Credit: USCG

See more details into the accident, in the following PDF