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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Julie N KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 6
source LMIU
type C
volume
material
dead
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Struck bridge at Portland(Me) 27 Sep 1996, causing spillage of fuel oil into Fore River. Extensive underwater damage. Vessel berthed and had booms placed around her. Lightered. Clean-up carried out. Sailed 21 Oct after temporary repairs. Pilot error reportedly responsible for contact.


source LINK
type L
volume
material
dead
link http://www.csc.noaa.gov/products/maine/html/oilcase.htm


source OSIR, 1998-05-21, page 2
type A
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As expected, the US NTSB has concluded that pilot error caused the Liberian tanker Julie N to ram a brige pier and spill 170,000 gallons (578 tons) of fuel oil in Portland Maine on 27 September 1996. However, NTSB investigators also say the narrow draw of Portland's Million dollar bridge left the pilot little margin for error, and inadequate fenders protecting the pier made the spill worse, The bridge has since been demolished, says Charles Serioiudom, senior investigator of the USCG's MSO in Portland.

"The probable cause of the collion ... was pilot's inadvertant order to port rudder instead of starboard rudder", according to a summary of the NTSB report released on 5 May. "He recognized his error within seconds and ordered the rudder to hard starboard; given the narrowness of the span, however, the shifting of the rudder occurred to late to avoid the collision,: the report states. The accident ripped a 10 m gash in the tanker below its waterline, rupturing a cargo tank and a bunker tank.


source FSI 8/11/4
type A
volume
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Vessel collided with pier of bridge causing a breach of the hull and cargo tanks, resulting in extensive pollution.

Pilot gave incorrect helm order at critical point in passage (full port rudder rather than full starboard) at bridge approach. Although corrected almost immediately, the ship struct the bridge pier. Bridge opening of not more than 30.05 m, vessel's beam 26.00 m. In 20 year period bridge sustained 80 incidents of damage by ships.


source Unknown
type A
volume
material
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The Julie N oil spill of 1996 is considered the worst oil spill in the history of Maine's Portland Harbor. The nearly 180,000 gallon oil spill was the result of human error and the miscommunication of a steering command that led the the boat's [sic] striking of a drawbridge. According to Boggis, Hamiliton and Herz in Threading the Needle, this bridge has been struck 79 times by ships, tugs or barges in the 20 years preceding the Julie N spill, which includes two incidents by the pilot of the Julie N. This record indicates there was clearly a problem with regard to passage through the bridge. Boggis goes on to note "data regarding threats to safe navigation apparently do not routinely flow to the USCG Marine Safety offices, to the shipping industry, or to the public and that many existing bridges do not fullfill the requirements of Ship Domain theory, because navigations clearances actually used are driven by concern fo reconomy rather than collision risk considerations."

Boggis et al note that in 33 USC 1223 and in Section 4 of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, "the USCG is responsible for assuring tanker and bridge safety and has the authority to approve clearances required for safe navigation through bridges." Further they note that a Maine Department of Transportation brige maintenance engineer expressed concerns about safety but "was told by the Coast Guard that it was the ship captain's responsiblity to decide when it was safe to pass and he (the captain) was liable for the damages."


source CTX
type C
volume 170000G
material F
dead
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The CTX is calling this a guidance error but the whole idea of putting a 35,000 ton tanker with a 26 m beam through a 30 meter opening is nuts. Twin screw might have helped, but the real cause here is an unsafe channel. The USCG bureaucratic response on responsibility is both typical and nonsense. Any captain who refused to take his ship where his charter legally required him to go would be immediately replaced by a captain who would.

MSIS volume is 170000G. Maine Dept of Wildlife puts the spill at 200,000 G, but all other sources say about 180,000 gallons. Most sources agree the spill was about half #2 and half heavy fuel oil, which would mean at least two tanks breached.

We need weather, time of day, etc. Have not found NTSB investigation report.