Collision between Liquefied Gas Carrier GenesisRiver and Voyager Tow

 Executive Summary

On May 10, 2019, at 1516, the 754-foot-long, 122-foot-wide liquefied gas carrier Genesis River collided with a 297-foot-long tank barge being pushed ahead by the 69-foot-long towing vessel Voyager. As a result of the collision, two cargo tanks in the barge were breached, spilling petrochemical cargo into the waterway, and a second barge in the Voyager tow capsized.

The Genesis River had been outbound on the Houston Ship Channel when, a few minutes prior to the collision, it met the inbound 740-foot-long, 120-foot-wide liquefied gas carrier BW Oak in the intersection of the Houston Ship Channel and the Bayport Ship Channel, known as the Bayport Flare. After the Genesis River and the BW Oak passed each other port side to port side, the Genesis River approached the southern terminus of the flare and a 16-degree port turn in the channel. As the Genesis River exited the flare and entered the turn, it crossed over to the opposite side of the Houston Ship Channel and subsequently struck the starboard barge in the Voyager’s two-barge tow. The Genesis River’s bow penetrated through the barge’s double hull and breached its center cargo tanks. The force of the collision capsized the port barge in the tow, and the Voyager heeled considerably before its face wires parted and the vessel righted itself. Over 11,000 barrels of reformate, a gasoline blending stock, spilled into the waterway from the starboard barge’s breached cargo tanks.

The Houston Ship Channel was closed to navigation for two days during response operations and did not fully open for navigation until May 15. The total cost of damages to the Genesis River and the barges was estimated at $3.2 million. The cost of reformate containment and cleanup operations totaled $12.3 million. There were no injuries reported.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collision between the liquefied gas carrier Genesis River and the Voyager tow was the Genesis River pilot’s decision to transit at sea speed, out of maneuvering mode, which increased the hydrodynamic effects of the Bayport Flare’s channel banks, reduced his ability to maintain control of the vessel after meeting another deep-draft vessel, and resulted in the Genesis River sheering across the channel toward the tow.

Accident Location: Upper Galveston Bay , TX USA Houston Ship Channel

Accident Date: 5/10/2019

Accident ID: DCA19FM033

Date Adopted: 3/10/2021

NTSB Number: MAR-21-01

NTIS Number: PB2021-100912

Docket Link: DCA19FM033

Related Report

•     MAR-21-01

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NTSB Finds Speed an Issue in 2019 Houston Ship Channel Collision

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