TSB Report Blames Fatigue, Inexperience for 2011 Barge Accident

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada said in an investigative report that fatigue and inexperience were factors in the EMPIRE 40 barge striking and causing substantial damage to the Queensborough Railway Bridge in British Columbia in June 2011. Professional Mariner reported that the TSB said the 202-foot barge was being pushed by the F.W. WRIGHT, a 41-foot tug. The agency said the master had been awake for 22 consecutive hours as a result of conducting lengthy towing duties over the previous day, and he handed over the helm to a mate prior to a “critical maneuver with which the mate was unfamiliar” less than an hour before the collision.

Nobody was injured and there was no pollution as a result of the barge accident, but the TSB noted that the master did not take advantage of the opportunity to rest and sleep after the mate joined the tug. According to Professional Mariner, the TSB also found that there is an increased probability that risks will remain unidentified and that vessels will be operated in an unsafe manner in the absence of a safety management system for small commercial vessels. “Ensuring that crew members are well rested makes good sense,” the report stated. “When the progress of the towing operation is not continuously monitored and no updates are  provided on this operation, as well as when this information is not shared, there is an increased  risk that a developing situation, such as an unusual set, may not be identified in time for  corrective action to be taken.”

Dangerous conditions, failure provide safe place to work, incompetent crew and negligence of fellow employees are all examples of negligent conditions in which seamen and their families can be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act. Latti & Anderson LLP represents injured seamen and the families of those killed while working at sea. Our firm has obtained several multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for individuals and families of maritime workers injured by an employer’s negligence, and you can contact our firm at (800) 392-6072 to arrange a free consultation or you can enter your information in the form on this page to let our Jones Act lawyers review your case.

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