The National Transportation Safety Board issued an investigation report on the collision of two fishing vessels and the subsequent sinking of one vessel in the Gulf of Mexico in July 2018. The report identified issues related to poor lookout and inappropriate actions to avoid the collision.
On the afternoon of 28 July 2018, the sport-fishing vessel Got ‘M On collided with the commercial fishing vessel Lady Toni about 105 miles east of Corpus Christi, Texas.
The Got ‘M On began flooding and all eight persons aboard disembarked to a Good Samaritan vessel before the sport-fishing boat sank.
No pollution or injuries were reported. The value of the Got ‘M On was $1.2 million and damage to the Lady Toni was about $250,000
NTSB determines that the probable cause of the collision between sport-fishing vessel Got ‘M On and commercial fishing vessel Lady Toni was:
- the failure of the Lady Toni captain to take appropriate action to avoid the collision, and
- the Got ‘M On captain’s failure to safely operate his vessel by leaving the bridge unattended.
Collision regulations require all vessels to keep a proper lookout and to proceed at a safe speed. The regulations also require the “give-way” vessel (in this accident, the Lady Toni, because the Got ‘M On was crossing from the Lady Toni’s starboard side) to take action to prevent a collision.
If the give-way vessel fails to do so, the “stand-on” vessel (the Got ‘M On) must take action.
Further, if any vessel is in doubt of what the other vessel is doing, it must sound the danger signal.
The Got ‘M On had no issues with its propulsion or navigational equipment; further, in clear daylight conditions, the Lady Toni would have been visible from its flying bridge.
When investigators asked the captain of the Got ‘M On what might have prevented the collision, he replied, “If I had been on the bridge.”
It is likely that the captain spent longer than 2–3 minutes off the flying bridge, given that he should have seen the Lady Toni visually or by radar well in advance of the collision.
The captain should not have left the navigation bridge unattended, especially not while the Got ‘M On was operating at such a high rate of speed.
..the report reads.
The two Lady Toni deckhands with whom investigators spoke stated that before the collision, the Lady Toni captain tried radioing the Got ‘M On via VHF channel 16 and turned the shrimp boat away from the Got ‘M On.
The deckhand in the wheelhouse of the Lady Toni said the captain also slowed the vessel prior to collision; no electronic information was available to verify this slowdown.
Further, statements from the crew on the nearby Double Oak contradict that the Lady Toni took any action; they heard no radio calls and saw no evasive maneuvers prior to impact.
If the Lady Toni captain had detected the Got ‘M On 5–6 miles away as the deckhands indicated, he should, as the navigator of the give-way vessel, have taken action to avoid the collision,
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