The capsizing of tug George H Ledcor on a Canadian river was down to gaps in towing training in difficult situations, according to the accident report
Four crew members on George H Ledcor were rescued from the tug’s overturned hull after it capsized on the Fraser River in British Columbia on 13 August 2018.
Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) discovered this tug had girded and overturned when it was towing the loaded gravel barge Evco 55.
George H Ledcor was assisted by tug Westview Chinook while it was manoeuvring the barge to an unloading facility in the north arm of the Fraser River.
TSB said in the report George H Ledcor girded and capsized after being overtaken by the barge at 22.10 local time.
Investigators found the girding and capsizing happened quickly following an attempt to change the direction of the barge.
“As the barge began to overtake George H Ledcor, the towline exerted a broadside force on the tug, placing it in a girded position” TSB said in a report. “The master applied full starboard rudder and full throttle. However, the various forces acting on the tug’s stability combined to increase the tug’s heel.
“As the tug’s deck edge and bulwarks submerged, the tug heeled further to starboard. Attempts to abort the tow were unsuccessful and the tug rapidly capsized.”
Crew were able to escape and were rescued soon afterwards.
Following the incident, the operating company of George H Ledcor took several safety actions to reduce the likelihood of similar accidents.
According to TSB, the operator supplemented its safety management system with procedures on how to recognise and avoid girding situations and introduced voyage simulator and classroom training for its masters and mates.
The operator also installed additional standard abort mechanisms in common locations on all company vessels.
Video from TSB’s accident report and future recommendations to tug operators -
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