Coast Guard: Alaskan Tug Boat Captain Ran Aground Due to Video Games

May 12, 2011 -

A safety-escort tug that ran aground two years ago on Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef went off course because of a captain who was playing video games, according to a report from the U.S. Coast Guard. The tugboat ran aground at the very same site where the Exxon Valdez disaster occurred. The tugboat Pathfinder was part of a navigation safety system established in the aftermath of the 1989 oil spill and was designed to guide oil tankers through the sound after they fill up with crude at the trans-Alaska pipeline's maritime terminal in Valdez.

But the tug boat operated by the Crowley Marine Services ended up striking the same submerged reef that ripped open the hull of the Exxon Valdez supertanker, causing the worst tanker spill in U.S. waters.

The Coast Guard report, which is dated May 5 and has not been released publically, was issued to various parties investigating the 2009 tugboat accident, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Walter Shinn. A final report releases later in the week. The report comes out of the Coast Guard's Alaska office in Juneau.

The Pathfinder spilled 6,410 gallons of diesel fuel after it struck Bligh Reef on the evening of December 23, 2009. The vessel was headed back to Valdez after scouting for floating ice in the area traveled by oil tankers.

According to the Coast Guard report, Captain Eugene Monsen did several things wrong that caused the accident. First, he changed the Pathfinder's course despite losing track of the vessel's precise location, then increased speed and failed to properly communicate with other officers. The Coast Guard puts the blame for his inattentive behavior on playing "hearts" and other games on his computer and had his back turned to the bridge.

"The fact that he went to the computer to play video games after a course change further aggravates the situation and amplifies the lack of attention on the bridge between the master and second mate," the report read.

The Coast Guard report also noted that the captain and his second mate were in direct violation of company operating and safety policies. Despite slightly exonerating the ship company, the report also recommended that the company update its policies, specifically calling for new provisions to address crew members' use of cell phones and recreational electronic devices that provide access to music, phone calls and video games.

"Games, music, phone calls to far-away family are a strong temptation and could easily distract a ship's officer from maintaining a proper lookout," the report read.

Crowley Maritime Corp. spokesman Mark Miller said that the Pathfinder's captain and second mate were fired after it was determined that they violated safety policies. The incident was an exception rather than the norm, the company claims.

"Crowley has a proven record of safe and reliable operations in Alaska. It deeply regrets the Pathfinder grounding incident," Miller said.

Source: MSNBC


 
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Andrew EisenMP - I love that games but damn my squadmates are bozos.09/21/2014 - 10:05pm
MaskedPixelanteSWAT teams should be banned until they; 1. Learn not to walk into enemy fire, 2. Learn to throw the flashbang INTO the doorway, not the frame and 3. Stop complaining that I'm in their way.09/21/2014 - 9:53pm
Craig R.I'm getting of the opinion that SWAT teams nationwide should be banned. This probably isn't even the most absurd situation in which they've been used.09/21/2014 - 9:26pm
Andrew EisenAnd, predictably, it encouraged more parody accounts, having the exact opposite effect than what was intended.09/21/2014 - 7:07pm
E. Zachary KnightThis is called a police state people. When public officials can send SWAT raids after anyone for any offense, we are no longer free.09/21/2014 - 6:41pm
E. Zachary KnightJudge rules SWAT raid tageting parody Twitter account was justified. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/19/illinois-judge-swat-raid-parody-twitter-peoria-mayor09/21/2014 - 6:41pm
MechaTama31quik: But even if it did break, at worst it is only as bad as the powder. Even that is assuming that it is dangerous through skin contact, which is not a given if its delivery vehicle is a syringe.09/21/2014 - 4:30pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2014/09/20/isis-uses-gta-5-in-new-teen-recruitment-video/09/21/2014 - 4:25pm
quiknkoldSyringes can break. And in a transcontinental delivery, the glass could've broken when crushed. I work in a mail center. Shit like this is super serious09/21/2014 - 3:25pm
E. Zachary KnightIt doesn't matter what is inside the needle. As long as it requires him to take the step of purposefully injecting himself, the threat of the substance is as close to zero as you can get.09/21/2014 - 1:27pm
quiknkoldEzach: I'm not talking about the needle. I'm talking about what's inside. Geeze. Depending on what it is, the sender could be guilty of bioterrorism.09/21/2014 - 12:51pm
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, No. That syringe is not worse than white powder or a bomb. The syringe requires the recipient to actually inject themselves. Not true for other mail threats.09/21/2014 - 12:49pm
Andrew EisenThe closest to a threat I ever received was a handwritten note slipped under my door that read "I KNOW it was you." Still no idea what that was about. I think the author must have got the wrong apartment.09/21/2014 - 12:28pm
InfophileThat's what they call it? I always called it hydroxic acid...09/21/2014 - 11:57am
MaskedPixelanteProbably dihydrogen monoxide, the most dangerous substance in the universe.09/21/2014 - 10:14am
james_fudgewell I hope he called the police so they can let us all know.09/21/2014 - 9:07am
quiknkoldIt's pretty gnarly. Depending on what it is, it could be worse than white powder or a fake bomb.09/21/2014 - 9:06am
james_fudgeI just looked it up on UPS.com09/21/2014 - 8:56am
james_fudgeand expensive for an American to ship to London.09/21/2014 - 8:55am
E. Zachary KnightThat is pretty scary. Would have been worse if it were a fake bomb or white powder.09/21/2014 - 8:49am
 

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