Marine Accident Brief: Grounding of Articulated Tug and Barge Nathan E Stewart/DBL 55

By BCShippingNews
December 5 2017
Nathan E. Stewart lifted away one month following the grounding. Photo courtesy Kyle Artelle, Heiltsuk First Nations.
Second mate falling asleep while on watch cited as probable cause of accident

Executive Summary

​On October 13, 2016, at 0108 local time, the articulated tug and barge (ATB) Nathan E Stewart/DBL 55 ran aground on Edge Reef off Athlone Island in the Seaforth Channel near Bella Bella, British Columbia, Canada. At the time of the accident, the Nathan E Stewart was en route to the Port of Vancouver with the empty DBL 55. None of the crewmembers were injured, but environmental damage occurred when approximately 29,000 gallons of fuel and lube oil were released. Damage to the vessel and barge was estimated at $12 million.

Photo above: Nathan E. Stewart lifted away one month following the grounding. Photo courtesy Kyle Artelle, Heiltsuk First Nations.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the grounding of the articulated tug and barge Nathan E Stewart/DBL 55 was the second mate falling asleep while on watch. Contributing to the grounding was the ineffective implementation of the company’s safety management system procedures for watchstanding.

Click here for the full report.