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administrator 05-17-2007 06:59 AM

C&D Canal Collision
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I have local friend who witnessed the salvage and one in the fire department.

Here are a few pics and information:

The 14-mile channel connecting the Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware River was closed early Monday after a tugboat pushing a barge collided with a sailboat. The sailboat, a nearly century-old 45-foot vessel called the Heron, sank almost instantly.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Kyle Niemi said investigators have not discovered what caused the accident. The Heron and the Schuylkill collided at 3:30 a.m. Monday in the canal off Kentmore Park, about two miles west of Chesapeake City, according to Niemi, who is based in Atlantic City, N.J.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Edward Voight said the schooner was heading east on the western approach to the canal about 3:30 a.m. when it collided with the tugboat Schuylkill in the center of the channel about 1.5 miles west of the Chesapeake City Bridge.

A man and his two daughters were rescued by tugboat crew members, Voight said.

The three were taken to Union Hospital in Elkton, Md., after paramedics treated them at the scene for minor injuries.

The father and one daughter were treated at the hospital and released. The other daughter remained hospitalized Monday, but Voight said her injuries were not life-threatening.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Kip Wadlow said the canal was closed to commercial traffic as a precaution.

"It poses a hazard to navigation and the Army Corps wants to make sure the debris is out of the water so it doesn't pose a risk to water traffic," Wadlow said.

Boasun 05-17-2007 08:57 AM

Would be interesting to know where both vessels were in the canal. Whether they had a passing agreement. Was the schooner under sail or power? And so forth. A beautiful vessel lost to human error. For someone screwed up royally and caused the collision.

CharlieCobra 05-17-2007 10:51 AM

From what I can see it looks like she got rolled under. They may be able to restore her.

nolatom 05-17-2007 11:00 AM

Beautiful old boat, what a shame, hope she's repaired. New spruce spars won't be cheap. Glad they all survived.

administrator 05-18-2007 01:19 PM


Originally Posted by Boasun
Would be interesting to know where both vessels were in the canal. Whether they had a passing agreement. Was the schooner under sail or power? And so forth. A beautiful vessel lost to human error. For someone screwed up royally and caused the collision.

well - there's a few rumors right now about who was where and who thought what, but they're rumors so I will wait for the USCG to release their findings once the investigation is complete.

Kernix 05-18-2007 04:07 PM

But wouldn't the Tug have the right of way - regardless of whether the sailboat was under sail or motoring, I think it would still be the give-way vessel in the hierarchy - is a tug considered a power vessel (which of course it is) or "...a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver"?

CharlieCobra 05-18-2007 04:31 PM

Vessel Restricted in Manuverabilty when under tow. The tug would have rights and be the stand on vessel unless there's an obstruction (like the shore) to complicate things. However, if the channel is 400 yards wide, the Schooner would've been the give way vessel.

HerbDB 05-18-2007 04:32 PM

Sailing in the C&D canal is specifically prohibited, so this would not make a difference in liability for the collision.

There is not a lot of room for big vessels to maneuver. At night or with low visibility, a sailing vessel can have difficulty getting out of the way in the limited space available. I was almost run down one dark night while exiting the south end of the C&D. A large Car Carrier was proceeding north up the Elk river entering the canal from the south.

I was proceeding south on the right side of the channel. We were motoring and could not hear the car carrier. It was so tall, that its running lights were significantly above the horizon. I eventually recognized that it was a large ship close in because the shore lights were disappearing behind it.

I turned 90 degrees right and left the channel. The ship brushed the bouy on the edge of the channel right behind me. He took up the entire space. If this had happened inside the main body of the canal, there would have been no place to dodge.

I am sure that my small boat was not visible from the deck of the ship once it was within a mile of my position. Taught me a lesson about being very very vigilant.

Boasun 05-18-2007 05:24 PM

Note: A tug pushing is considered a power driven vessel. Thus the Sail boat would have right of way. Now in a channel both vessels are to suppose to keep to the starboard side of the canal. But there have been times where I've seen vessels on the wrong side of the canal, far to many times.

For a tug to have restricted Manuverability, she would have to be towing astern and the construction of the tow would need to be taken into consideration, else wise she is a power driven vessel.

But until we have the facts on what really happened, we can't make a judgement call and learn from somebody else's mistakes. (the best way to learn) So we have to commiserate on the lost of a beautiful schooner and be thankful that no one was lost in this accident.

nolatom 05-18-2007 06:15 PM

And technically under Rule 27, a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver is supposed to show red-white-red on her mast.

I'm not suggesting you shouldn't avoid large vessels who don't display these lights, you'll live a lot longer if you get on the radio with them and ask what they need.

But, that's what the rules say.

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