The towing vessel sinks without human loss or injuries
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued Marine Accident Brief regarding the sinking of towing vessel Delta Captain.
On April 13, 2013, about 1455, the uninspected towing vessel Delta Captain, towing the deck barge DB 5, experienced uncontrolled flooding in its engine room and sank 13 nautical miles west of Point Sur, California. The four crewmembers abandoned the vessel within about 10 minutes after the flooding began and were later rescued by the United States Coast Guard. No one was injured in the accident, but the vessel sank in deep water and was not recovered. Its estimated value was $2.5 million.
The 76.5-foot-long Delta Captain departed Alameda, near San Francisco, California, on the afternoon of April 12, 2013.About 1 day after departing Alameda, while traveling at a speed of about 4.7 knots, the engineer on duty in the Delta Captains engine room noticed water entering the space at the upper area of the aft bulkhead of the engine room, in the vicinity of a 6-inch-diameter pipe that passed through the bulkhead to the steering gear space. He reported the flooding to the mate on watch in the wheelhouse, and then started the bilge pump and the fire pump to dewater the engine room. In addition, the crewmembers attempted to reduce the ingress of water into the engine room by plugging the hole. However, the high rate of water ingress thwarted their efforts to stem the flow and remove the flooding water.
As the vessels stern began to settle into the sea, the crewmembers determined that the situation was dire and that they might be able to increase the chance of saving the boat by releasing the tow wire to the barge. However, the crew could not reach the winch drum to release the tow because the stern was partially submerged.
About 1455, the captain called the crew to the wheelhouse and directed them to launch the liferaft. He also contacted the Coast Guard at that time, stating that the vessel was taking on water and that the crew was unable to keep up with the flooding. A few minutes later, about 1500, the captain placed a Mayday call and informed the Coast Guard that the crew was now abandoning ship. Shortly thereafter, the crew entered the liferaft. At 1502, the Coast Guard lost communications and automatic identification system (AIS) tracking of the Delta Captain, and the vessels emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) was automatically activated as the vessel sank.
|The NTSB determines that the probable cause of the sinking of the towing vessel Delta Captain was uncontrolled flooding of the steering gear space and engine room from an undetermined source in the steering gear space.|
Further details may be found by reading the NTSBMarine Accident Brief
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