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Old 13-07-2010, 05:28   #16
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FWIW, and I didn't see the accident but.....

Frankly I would never set foot on one of these ducks, they simply look overloaded and unseaworthy. 37 people hooting and blowing stupid duck calls and doing anything but paying attention. Captain has to be a tour guide and pay attention to all those people, how could he do a good job? Personal opinion. 2

We frequently walk to Penns Landing, the area where the incident occurred and watch these things wallow around in the water.

Typically they do not stray more than a 100 to 150 yards from the bulkhead as there is more to see in close. Occassionally one wanders further off but it is rare. The channel is off further and you need to align yourself to get through the Ben Franklin bridge. So normally the shipping and the ducks are well separated.

The Delaware has quite a current along this shore, maybe 3 knots at full tide if not more. You don't have to be without power long to be swept well out of position. And the current reverses with the tide, obviously. There is 6 feet of tidal rise here I believe.

So, even at the best of times, these ducks can be caught in a strong tidal flow making 3 knots against a foul current with a crush crowd of screaming, hooting, picture taking, quacking tourist.

No blaming anyone here except perhaps the fact that this kind of incident was inevitable, given enough time. Perhaps the best thing is that ONLY two people died.
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Old 13-07-2010, 09:21   #17
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Picture of Accident

This picture was from CNN today.
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Old 13-07-2010, 10:42   #18
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More news...
Tug's operator had 150 reportable incidents in 5 years - WorkBoat.com
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Old 13-07-2010, 10:53   #19
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A few years back there was a similar event at Point Defiance in Puget Sound. A 30ish pleasure boat had lost power and drifted into the traffic lane and the skipper was on a cell phone to the local Vessel Assist operator, when a woman aboard started screaming that a barge was about to run over them. The VA operator(his name is Rick I think) grabbed his vhf mike, identified himself and told the tug what was happening. The tug reversed and although they did collide it was much less severe than it would have been. The boat was damaged and the people were wet,but alive.
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Old 13-07-2010, 15:44   #20
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I'm starting to understand why the mate is taking the 5th--if the duck was anchored and trying to call him on ch 13 and everyone else heard the calls, he has some serious explaining to do.
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Old 13-07-2010, 17:40   #21
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Not taking sides on this but............

I wonder how long it was between making the call and the impact?

The Mate's life could be seriously ruined for an ill timed bio-break. We will never really know what occurred.

Maybe a minute or two of inattention and two are dead, a man's life ruined.

Tragic for all involved.
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Old 14-07-2010, 01:44   #22
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Here we go.... Typical media over-hype (not workboat.com, but the Philly Inquirer).

Assuming those reports are of the kind of stuff that most companies are requiring these days (Near Misses for tripping on deck, injury reports for stubbed toes), then that number is misleading. K-Sea is a very large company with over 60 tugs and 60 or so barges. That comes out to about 1 report per vessel (tug or barge) per almost-three years. That is a very low rate for any company.

Towing is not always a hunky dory operation. It is a very physical job (moreso than many other commercial vessel operations) and when working around that kind of equipment, small injuries do happen.

K-Sea has a good reputation on the water. I do not want to see them get raked through the coals on this, as they do not deserve it.
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Old 14-07-2010, 07:23   #23
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Some of ships have the equivalent of cockpit recorders, which record a lot of data, plus conversations on the bridge. They would quickly take the mystery out of what happened here.
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Old 14-07-2010, 08:12   #24
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Captain has to be a tour guide and pay attention to all those people, how could he do a good job? Personal opinion. 2
I have a little inside info on this accident. The Duck captain and mate did an incredible job during this incident. That there are only two dead is a major miracle. I wouldn't defend the captain and crew of the tug too awful much... it's not gonna be pretty in the end...The mate was right to take the fifth. The truth will still come out, as there were several others aboard.
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Old 14-07-2010, 14:39   #25
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Some of ships have the equivalent of cockpit recorders, which record a lot of data, plus conversations on the bridge. They would quickly take the mystery out of what happened here.
These are known as Voyage Data Recorders, or VDRs. Carriage of this equipment is regulated by the IMO. I know of no domestically-trading vessels that are required to carry them and ocean-going tugs on foreign voyages aren't required to carry them either. I think that only passenger ships and all others over 3000 GT are required to have a VDR.
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