In 2019, USCG marine inspectors detained 41 towing vessels for Code 30 deficiencies, reflecting a vessel’s failure to implement a Towing Vessel Safety Management System or a lack of familiarity with a TSMS. Of those, 32% used the TSMS option and 68% used the Coast Guard option.
On February 10, USCG received a report that a 14-foot skiff carrying four crewmembers from the ITV Melvin L. King struck a towing vessel and all four people entered the water at mile marker 41, in the Port Allen Route near Belle River, Louisiana. Two have been rescued, but one is still missing, while one body has been recovered.
The US Coast Guard and local agencies responded to a report of two towing vessels that collided on the Mississippi River at mile marker 123, near Luling, Louisiana, on January 26. After the collision, four crew were reported missing, but one was found.
US Coast Guard Sector Virginia suspended the Merchant Mariner Credential of a ship’s captain, after finding out that he was operating the vessel under the influence of alcohol during an accident that caused the vessel to run aground. The tugboat Niki Jo C drifted off course and ran aground outside the main channel of the Rappahannock River, on November 14, 2019.
The USCG issued a safety alert providing information on the towing vessel community, highlighting the importance of maintaining clear communication with all the parties involved into their Towing Safety Management System (TSMS).
The American Waterways Operators (AWO) released a short educational video on the contributions of the American tugboat, towboat and barge industry to the US economy and security. The video forms part of the Spotlight On educational video series.
The US Coast Guard has approved Inland Towing Operators Working Together (ITOW) as a third-party organization (TPO) to carry out certain functions in accordance with Subchapter M, the Towing Vessel National Center of Expertise (TVNCOE) announced on 5 August.
USCG’s Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance published its updated ‘Towing Vessel COI Inspections under TSMS Option.’ According to the coast guard, the updates are not limited to adding annual and renewal Certificate of Inspection guidance for Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) option vessels inspected under 46 CFR Subchapter M.
The USCG announced that its Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance has updated the Mission Management System CV-WI-010(2), Work Instruction for OCMI guidance on special consideration for inspected towing vessels.
NTSB published its report on the capsizing and sinking of the towing vessel Natalie Jean, on March 12, 2018, on the Lower Mississippi River near New Orleans, Louisiana. Two of the three crewmembers on board the towboat died in the accident. The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the capsizing and sinking of the Natalie Jean was the company’s decision to place an inadequately vetted pilot on board the vessel.
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