Extremely high profile allision.
The 68,200 dwt ton bulk carrier was downbound in the Mississipi River at about Mile 95
loaded with 56,397 tons of corn,
when the main engine tripped and she lost propulsion power.
Even though she was operating at speed over the ground of 16 knots,
she immediately lost steerage and turned to port.
(The river was at high stage at the time.)
The turn continued despite full starboard rudder.
Power was restored less than five minutes later,
but by then it was too late to keep the ship
from plowing into the Poydras Street Wharf.
Miraculously, no one was killed,
bu the NTSB says there were four serious and 58 minor injuries.
Other sources claim higher totals.
The proximate cause was the No 1 lube oil pump
was in lousy shape and putting out low pressure;
the strainer was partially clogged in part due to poor maintenance
and in part due to the the lube oil being contaminated with fuel.
The net result was the output pressure dropped below the trip level.
The No 2 lube oil pump did not start up automatically as it should have,
and it took them a couple of minutes to get power back.
The NTSB inquiry revealed that the ship's machinery
had been in bad condition for a long time,
and that the owners (Cosco) had known about this and done little.
See the disgusting chronology in Appendix C of the NTSB report.
This ship was an accident waiting to happen.
Despite the fact that her Sulzer RTA62 engine
had a history of major liner and piston failures,
the ship was fully classed (DNV)
and had passed a USCG inspection six months earlier.
Some said the ship was going too fast;
but, as the experienced pilot claimed and loss of steerage proved,
the ship, a very blocky, single screw, loaded bulk carrier,
had to be going close to ten knots thru the water
to maintain steerage.
As usual, the crew took the blame.
Liberia suspended the Chief's licence
even though the correspondence showed the Chief
had been begging for spares and support from Sulzer for some time.
And despite the fact that he and his exhausted department
had had to pull 11 cylinders and change out six liners
in less than a year, among numerous other non-standard repairs.
No one including the NTSB pointed out that,
if the ship had been twin screw,
not only would the probability of a complete
loss of power been reduced by a factor of 1000 or more;
but the ship could have been going much slower
while still maintaining control.
In November, 2004, the Bright City entered the Mississippi
and successfully passed a New Orleans USCG inspection.
The Bright City is Cosco's new name for the Bright Field.