An equipment failure led to a Sept. 6, 2016 incident in the Houston Ship Channel that left two marine pilots suffering from burns and the discharged 88,000 gallons of low-sulfur marine gas oil, which then caught on fire.
That’s the finding of the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation into the incident.
The investigators found a momentary failure of a ship’s governor actuator system caused the tank vessel Aframax River to violently strike two mooring “dolphins,” which are man-made marine structures extending above the water level.
The allision tore a 30-foot-long gash in the hull of the ship. The fire ignited from the oil spill burned for 45 minutes.
The accident forced the closure of a portion of the channel for approximately 14 hours and caused $1.5 million in property damage. Two pilots aboard the vessel suffered burns in the fire.