NTSB Issues Investigation Report on Atina Incident

by | Nov 28, 2021 | Maritime Law

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its report following the investigation into the October 17, 2020 incident when the products tanker Atina struck an offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico.  At the time, the vessel was anchoring in the Southwest Pass Fairway Anchorage in the Gulf of Mexico, about 21.5 miles offshore Pilottown, Louisiana.  During this process the vessel struck a manned offshore platform, SP-57B.  The five contractors working on the platform had to evacuate via helicopter following the incident.  The vessel is owned by Hanzhou 1 Ltd. and operated by Besiktas Likid Tasimacilik Denizcilik Ticaret Anonim Sirketi.  The SP-57B platform is owned and operated by Cox Operating LLC.  The vessel is classed by the American Bureau of Shipping.

The NTSB’s report indicates the lack of sleep that the master on board had in the days leading up to the allision:

According to the 96-hour work/rest history form for the master, he had no sleep in the 24-hour period before the accident and 19 hours of sleep during the 96 hours before the accident. Ninety-six-hour work/rest history forms for the second mate, helmsman, and lookout indicated that all were in compliance with work/rest requirements.

In the incident, the vessel was asked to reposition itself by the Southwest Pass pilot station, so the vessel would be in accordance with its passage plan.  During this process, the vessel apparently lost track of the platform before striking it.

The report provides the probable cause of the incident:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the contact of tanker Atina with the oil and gas production platform SP-57B was the Atina’s operating company not ensuring sufficient time for the master’s turnover, which resulted in the master’s acute fatigue and poor situation awareness during an attempted nighttime anchoring evolution.

The report serves as a reminder that vessel operators must ensure newly arriving crew members have adequate rest:

Vessel operating companies should ensure that joining crewmembers/personnel are given the opportunity to obtain a sufficient handover period and adequate rest before taking over critical shipboard duties, such as navigation, that could impact the safety of the crew, property, and the environment.

Our attorneys have extensive experience in maritime injury and wrongful death litigation in courts across the country and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives as a result of the negligence of another party, or been seriously injured.  We have handled numerous cases involving injuries that occurred as a result of lack of sleep of crew members on board a vessel.  The experienced vessel accident attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of a maritime accident.  Please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your legal rights.