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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #31  
Old 07-15-2010
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It was that close before seen, on a clear day? How in hell?

But yeah, that would change the "lookout" part of the responsibility under the rules, depending on how big that grain of salt is.
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  #32  
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The issue may come down to the tug not having sufficient crew to maintain the appropriate watch. The union has been fighting for increased crew for some time.
I have also read that first sighting was a 400ft by the duck boat crew, but the barge or duck boat would have been in clear sight of each other at least 2 1/2 miles down river as the barge made the turn under the Walt Witman Bridge.
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  #33  
Old 07-15-2010
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I've come through that area a few times now.. it is not somewhere you want to be with all the ships, barges,dredges, huge anchorages with gigantic ships at rest, tugs crisscrossing all over the place, and even helicopters buzzing you (homeland security) Also is the river itself being churned up into all kinds conflicting waves and current. Loosing engine power would be bad news for anyone there.

The few times I've watched the ducs on the ramp and in the water it looks like they have very little freeboard. Also, 37 people weigh well over 2 tons. So I still think even with power they have little chance of handling adverse condtions that are very common on that stretch of water. (just my opinion, based on very little knowledge of the actual construction of the craft) Maybe the actual original ducs were built different?
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  #34  
Old 07-15-2010
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Denise, I've been on the DUCs, not the one in Philly but the same company. They're quite sufficient for the waters they operate in, quite enough freeboard, and there are active bilge pumps running in them. (Much better than the ones in our boats, yes.)

Nothing will survive a direct hit by a barge, so the seaworthiness of the DUCs isn't an issue here.

And everyone here SHOULD be aware that even if the commercial vessel is keeping a proper watch, any ship, any tug+barge, has a HUGE blind spot immediately in front of their bow. They may not be able to see anything for 1/4-1/2 mile directly under their bow, and that's one reason so many commercial captains get ballistically PO'd at racers who cut inside that dead spot, routinely, figuring there's plenty of seam room. THERE ISN'T, THE GUYS CAN"T SEE SQUAT UNDER THE BOW.

So given where the DUC was, you can expect a disaster. The only real questions are:
1-Was the tug keeping a proper bridge watch, that might have seen the DUC enter the danger zone? (Probably not, since the tug did't sound 5x on the horn.)
2-Was the tug keeping a proper radio watch, to receive the mayday calls from the DUC? If the DUC made them? Again, probably not.
3-Could either party have taken any action to avoid the collision? On the tug's side, probably not because of limited manueverability, UNLESS a proper watch would have had adequate time to respond.
On the DUCs side...There may be full liability. The DUC driver may have drifted into the channel by fast current, OR he may have been trying to cut ahead of the barge when he lost power. Two very different results.

But the range of options, the range of possible mistakes, is fairly small and I'd expect the court of inquiry is going to get ot the bottom of this one quickly. If the tug skipper takes and sticks to the fifth amendment...that will point to not keeping a proper watch, and that will damn him.

Give it six months, we'll see.
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  #35  
Old 07-15-2010
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This bears repeating...

Quote:
And everyone here SHOULD be aware that even if the commercial vessel is keeping a proper watch, any ship, any tug+barge, has a HUGE blind spot immediately in front of their bow. They may not be able to see anything for 1/4-1/2 mile directly under their bow, and that's one reason so many commercial captains get ballistically PO'd at racers who cut inside that dead spot, routinely, figuring there's plenty of seam room. THERE ISN'T, THE GUYS CAN"T SEE SQUAT UNDER THE BOW.
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  #36  
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The duck enters and exits the river directly in the dredged shipping channel, and the tour is mostly within the channel. The river is a heavily used commercial port with traffic NJ to PA bulkhead, and the commercial traffic is increasing as the Port Authority does an excellent job of increasing the port as an attractive commercial destination.
This is also a tidal river with a lot of pleasure craft both power and sail, and is the home waters of the Liberty Sailing School.
Apart from the few excessive power boat wakes, minor compared to the barge wakes, most craft follow the rules of the road diligently. To do otherwise will very quickly create scary situations, from which most boaters will learn what not to do.

This incident will more than likely resolve around watch keeping and communication by both vessels.
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  #37  
Old 07-17-2010
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Well, this is predictable, especially in Philadelphia:

Lawsuits Coming in Fatal Duck Boat Accident « KYW Newsradio 1060

I realize that there were serious mistakes made that led to this fatal accident, and therefore there must be liability. But for some reason, the thought of a team of briefcase-toting Philadelphia/NYC lawyers traveling to a tiny town in Hungary to "get to know the family" sounds an awful lot like high-tech long-distance ambulance chasing. I hope these poor families realize that the attorneys will deduct "out of pocket costs" (over and above their fees) from the winnings, and first-class globetrotting by these guys will likely take a big chunk (all?) out of their winnings. And none of this will bring back their loved ones.

And these guys suggest that the duck boats should have had positive flotation? I suspect that many things were done wrong in this unfortunate incident, but violating the laws of Physics was not one of them.

Lawsuits Coming in Fatal Duck Boat Accident
7/16/2010
12:59pm

The families of the two Hungarian tourists who were killed in last week’s duck boat collision are preparing to file lawsuits in connection with the tragedy.

KYW’s John McDevitt reports that a Philadelphia lawyer who previously represented victims of the fatal Pier 34 and Tropicana garage collapses is heading to Hungary to assist the families.

Attorney Robert Mongeluzzi (above) and his partner will be joining co-counsel Peter Ronai of a New York firm in the small Hungarian town of 300 where the victims — 16-year-old Dora Schwendtner and 20-year-old Szabolcs Prem — lived, to meet their families and find out more about them and their lives.

Mongeluzzi says once that is done, a suit will be filed:

“We will be suing K-Sea Transportation — they were piloting the tug and barge that ran over the duck boat. We will be suing the duck boat company — they should not have had a breakdown, and they should have had an air horn that worked. And they should have had a vessel with buoyancy.”...
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  #38  
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I agree in general with your views of the bottom of the food chain lawyer, but we do need them every now and again to fight for victims rights and prevent future victims.

After the Tropicana parking lot collapse during construction, engineering inspections are now performed before formwork and temporary supports are remove.

After the Pier 34 collapse, the City of Philadlephia now requires more frequent engineering inspections and reports to the city for all the piers.

Maybe after this incident the tug-barge crews on watch will be increased from 2 to 3 so that a crew member will be on the barge, and stricter controls for commercial passenger craft in the shipping channel.

Sometimes it takes the potential for a major financial hit to change the way things are done.
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  #39  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulladh View Post
Rhythm
I agree in general with your views of the bottom of the food chain lawyer, but we do need them every now and again to fight for victims rights and prevent future victims.

After the Tropicana parking lot collapse during construction, engineering inspections are now performed before formwork and temporary supports are remove.

After the Pier 34 collapse, the City of Philadlephia now requires more frequent engineering inspections and reports to the city for all the piers.

Maybe after this incident the tug-barge crews on watch will be increased from 2 to 3 so that a crew member will be on the barge, and stricter controls for commercial passenger craft in the shipping channel.

Sometimes it takes the potential for a major financial hit to change the way things are done.
Obviously I agree with all of this. I just have a cynical view toward lawyers - admittedly too cynical in this case. But I realize that in the end, the costs of this trip to Hungary will be paid by the victims, since it will be taken out as out-of-pocket costs. So I just hope that they don't go hopping over there unnecessarily.

BTW, we saw your boat in its slip on the way in yesterday evening. We're headed out again tonight - the breezes out on the river make the heat a little more tolerable. Is your motor working better?
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Old 07-17-2010
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Cleaned the carb, cleaned and greased the linkages, reset the idle. The outboard starts after second pull and runs well. But it has tendency to jump out of reverse at he wrong time.
Not a problem if I time my return to the slip at slack or flood tide. At ebb I will be coming into the slip at more than 2 to 4 knots.

Unfortunatley for my sailing but good for my wallet, work has picked-up so less time on water. I will be able to afford installing a new inboard this winter.

Back to topic, I have been on both ends of the pointy stick when it come to lawyers, but I am glad I had one fighting for me. Just hope the crew of both vessels don't get made the scape-goat for company policy, and have good lawyers.
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