The National Transportation Safety Board has released its report on the January 12, 2021 incident when a barge being pushed by the towing vessel Robert Cenac struck a railway bridge near Slidell, Louisiana. The incident occurred in Lake Borgne, and resulted in over $1,000,000 in damage. At the time, the vessel had a crew of four on board. The swing bridge was operated by CSX Transportation, and carried a portion of railway track across a portion of Lake Pontchartrain.
The NTSB’s report indicated the probable cause of the incident:
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the contact of the Robert Cenac tow with the CSX Rigolets railway swing bridge was the poor communication between the bridge operator and vessel operator. Contributing to the accident was the absence of bridge span navigation lighting that would have provided the vessel operator with a visual indication of the bridge’s opening status.
The report also noted the importance of communication between all parties:
Communication between drawbridge operators and vessel operators requesting bridge openings must be clear. Commonly used in all modes of transportation, closed loop communication, in which the sender confirms the message is understood or provides additional information or clarification, ensures the receiver understands the message
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 on barges. 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 877-678-5864 to learn more about your legal rights.