Collisions, fires and hull failures are highlighted in the National Transportation Safety Board’s newly released Safer Seas Digest 2023. The compendium of findings from 31 NTSB investigations includes one fatal accident, but other close calls with lessons for mariners.

The digest includes the fatal collision between the Coast Guard cutter Winslow Griesser and the center-console fishing boat Desakata off the coast of Puerto Rico. The accident in rough seas was found to be caused by a failure of both the Coast Guard crew and fishermen to keep adequate lookout.

Among other accidents was the collision of the commercial squid fishing vessel Tremont with the containership MSC Rita off Virginia. In that incident, all 13 crew members on the Tremont got off safely. 

NTSB investigators found the collision occurred as the mate on the Tremont was attempting to troubleshoot the vessel’s gyrocompass while keeping the autopilot engaged, turning the Tremont into the path of the containership.

The 90-page report, rich in graphics, is online at the NTSB website.

“While many NTSB recommendations call for regulatory action, passenger and fishing vessel associations, training centers and marine safety advocacy groups can share the circumstances of accidents we have investigated and promote awareness of NTSB recommendations,” the report summarizes. “We encourage operators to take voluntary measures to improve safety on their vessels.”

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