Back to Casualty List | Search The Casualty Database
Precis File
SHIP NAME: Axel Spirit KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 3
source USCG
type A
volume
material
dead
link

The USCG is conduting an investigation to determine how a 799 foot tanker struck the Ambrose Light navigation aid at 2 am today.

Ambrose Light is a 76 foot structure that sits about 12 miles SE of Staten Island. It is located about 4.5 miles outside the shipping channel. The structure reportedly suffered substantial damage to its legs, stanchion, and the revolving light is bent and no longer revolving.

The Axel Spirit, operated by Teekay Shipping Company and flagged in Nassau was enroute to teh Chevron facility in Perth Amboy. The Coast Guard does not yet know the extent of damage to the Axel Spirit. There have been no reported injuries or pollution.

Weather at the time was reported at 20-25 knot winds and 4 to 5 ft seas.


source NTSB
type D
volume 0
material
dead 0
link www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2009/MAR0902.pdf

Ship headed for Perth Amboy from Mexico was delayed and had to anchor in Lower New York Harbor to wait for the next high tide (0327 on 20771103). Ship anchored about 4 mi NE of Ambrose Light. Winds were 15 to 20 kts from the NE, gusting to 30. Current was about 1 knot to the west. Ship intended to pass to the south of Ambrose Light and then pick up pilot. After raising anchor, ship proceeded SE at 4-5 knots with several stoppage of engines to drift because they were ahead of the scheduled time to pick up pilot. During the drifting periods, the ship yawed to port. Master failed to appreciate that the current was pushing him west of intended course despite deferential remarks from OOW and lookout, failed to use ARPA, and failed to make large enough corrections.

At 0134 ship hit Ambrose Light suffering a 60 ft gash on the starboard side, but not penetration. Damage to the ship was estimated at 1.5MM dollars. The USD15 mm (???) tower waa so badly damaged that it was removed.

Ship proceeded to berth and Master failed to report incident until 0800 the next morning after seeing the extent of the damage.


source CTX
type D
volume N
material
dead
link

Pretty good NTSB report greatly aided by the Voyage Data Recorder data. The VDR overwrites after 12 hours, unless the crew hits a special button which they did not do. However, USCG team which boarded the vessel the next day, did hit the button just in time to save the data at the time of the allision.

The USCG is undoubtedly right that the primary cause was poor conning on the part of the Master. However, they fail to even mention the very poor low speed maneuvering characteristics of modern single screw tankers. They explicitly exclude the weather as a factor, even though the brisk to strong wind would be pushing the stern to port --- on a loaded tanker most of the windage is aft --- counteracting the master's attempt to steer to port, as the yaw during the drifting periods indicates. Once he got into this situation, the Master would have had to take pretty drastic action to be safey clear of the tower, which he did not do. As usual, the NTSB puts a lot of emphasis on failure to do all the paperwork required by all the IMO/Intertanko regs and Teekay's procedures.