Inaccurate Stability Sank Cargo Ship Carrying Thousands Of Cars

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The cargo ship capsized near Georgia’s Port of Brunswick. The capsizing of the cargo ship off the Georgia coast, which resulted in more than $200 million in damage, was caused by incorrect calculations about the vessel’s stability.

Incident 

The cargo ship capsized within the Port of Brunswick’s harbor, shortly after unberthing and proceeding towards the Port of Baltimore. 

The ship departed the dock in Brunswick shortly after midnight and had traveled for only 23 minutes when it started to list. The serious listing caused the port to close immediately. 

After the distress call, first responders began arriving shortly with vessels from the Coast Guard and Georgia Department of Natural Resources and a Coast Guard helicopter. 

They had rescued 20 crew members, and it took until the evening of the following day for first responders to rescue the four who were trapped.

Members of the US Coast Guard unload supplies from a Coast Guard helicopter from the side of the ship, the day after it capsized.

Two crew members were seriously injured.

The ship was carrying 4,100 vehicles and 24 crew members when it overturned while traveling through St. Simons Sound. Ultimately fire, flooding and saltwater corrosion meant the ship was declared a total loss estimated at $62.5 million, and an estimated $142 million worth of cargo was lost.

Investigation 

During investigation it was found that 

  • The NTSB also found that two watertight doors had been left open, which caused the vessel to flood after it capsized.
  • The probable cause of the capsizing was the chief officer’s mistake while entering ballast quantities into the stability calculation program. That meant the vessel had less stability than the chief officer calculated, the report said.
  • The operator of the ship also had no procedures to verify the chief officer’s calculations, so the operator and master of the ship didn’t know the ship was sailing without meeting stability requirements.

Recommendations

As a result of its investigation, the NTSB recommended that the operator of the vessel, G-Marine Service Co. Ltd., create procedures for verifying stability calculations before a vessel leaves port.

It also recommended the company verify the crew follows a departure checklist regarding the closing of watertight doors.

On the ship, the NTSB found, “the two watertight doors had been left open for almost 2 hours before the accident. However, no one on the bridge ensured that the doors were closed before departure from the port.”

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Source: cnn

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