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Precis File
source ETC
type D
volume 17592B
material fuel oil

source USCG
type D
material gasoline
dead 16

The NTSB Report is NTSB-MAR-77-1, NTIS AD-A043060. Keytrader was downbound loaded with gasoline, jet fuel, and furnace oil. Baune was upbound loaded with bauxite. There was very low lying fog over which you could see the bridges and masts. Keytrader pilot tried to contact other ships on Channel 13, but Baune pilot had packed his portable VHF since he was about to be relieved. Because of anchored ships on the west side of the river, Keytrader opted for starboard to starboard and gave two whistles. Baune apparently never hear the whistles because of the weird atmospheric conditions, and went port to port.

The bow of the Baune penetrated about 20 feet into the two forward cargo tanks on the starboard side. The angle of impact was about 50 degrees. The board estimated that at the time of collision, the Keytrader's speed thru the water was 6.5 knots and the Baune's was 6 knots. The ensuing fire enveloped and extensively damaged both vessels. About 840,000 gallons of gasoline cargo on the Keytrader were consumed in the fire.

Contributing to the spread of the fire was that the tank lids were aluminum Say what???? which melted and the valves on the cargo tanks steam smothering branch lines had been closed to prevent commingling, which the USCG report says was legal.

At the time of the collision the Keytrader was carrying 17,706LT of cargo.

The river was at high stage. As usual the USCG says the speeds (about 6 knots thru the water) were too high, but then correctly points out, the ships could not go any slower and maintain steerage.

source CTX
type D
volume 17600B
material F
dead 16

A deadly Dance of Death. With the low lying fog, American pilot on Keytrader initially thought Baune was leaving anchorage on west side of the river. He tried to communicate but couldn't because American pilot on Baune had turned off his VHF. Then he tried whistle signals which also did not work because of atmospheric conditions. Pilot on Baune wasn't worried because he was on the starboard side of the river. In extremis, pilot on Keytrader correctly went full ahead and hard to port but Keytrader master overrode by going full astern. Probable that master's wrong move was too late to have any real impact.

It sounds like the ships did not have VHF which if true is incredible. Maybe ships' VHF were not on the pilots channel 13, but why not?

NTSB report does not give spill volume.. Twin screw might have helped a little on this one, but the real problem was the failure to communicate due in part to the Baune's not being equipped with a Channel 13 VHF.