U.S. Coast Guard Provides Details of M/V BARKALD and S/V ESSENCE Collision

The U.S. Coast Guard has provided details of the causes of a September 2006 collision that left one woman dead in Long Island Sound. The early morning collision between a 600-foot freighter and a 92-foot sailboat five miles north of Roanoke Point Shoals in Long Island Sound was recently the subject of a presentation by the Coast Guard’s LCDR Dawn Kallen to the Connecticut Pilot Commission.

The collision occurred more than one year ago. A Coast Guard rescue boat from Station New Haven recovered two of the three-person sailboat crew and transferred them to local EMS. The woman was pronounced dead at Yale New Haven Hospital. A man was treated for mild hypothermia. The third crewman, the sailboat captain, was rescued by the freighter's small boat and was transported by the Coast Guard rescue boat to shore.

At the time of the collision, the 600-foot coal carrier Barkald was transiting outbound to Halifax, Nova Scotia, from Bridgeport, Conn., and a 92-foot sailing vessel was transiting inbound to Greenwich, Conn., when the collision occurred. Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound received the initial call at 4:04 a.m. and immediately launched a rescue boat from Station New Haven. The Coast Guard rescue crew arrived on scene at 4:29 a.m. Seas were reported at two-to-three feet.

As is standard for all marine incidents, the Coast Guard ordered drug and alcohol screening of the Barkald's crew. The sailing vessel sank with 600 gallons of diesel on board and the Coast Guard has subsequently monitored the site for potential pollution from this incident.

LCRD Kallen’s investigation describes the "Conclusions of the USCG Investigation and Contributing Causes of the incident." These were depicted in the PowerPoint Presentation made to the Connecticut Pilot Commission during last week’s regularly scheduled meeting, as follows:

  • The failure of the Mate on the ESSENCE to properly identify the aspect of the lights of the BARKALD and his position in relation to the BARKALD.

  • He failed to take proper action to avoid collision -- Rule 8.

  • He effected a 70 to 90 degree turn to starboard, crossing the BARKALD bow, resulting in the collision.

  • The failure of the Mate on the ESSENCE to determine that risk of collision existed with BARKALD -- Rule 7

  • The failure of the bridge team on the BARKALD to make visual contact and/or radar contact with ESSENCE in sufficient time to determine whether risk of collision existed -- Rule 7

  • The failure of the Pilot and 2nd Mate of BARKALD to determine a head-on situation existed with ESSENCE -- Rule 14

  • The failure of the Pilot and 2nd Mate on the BARKALD to maintain a proper lookout -- Rule 5

  • The bridge team on the BARKALD failed to comply with company policy to post a lookout on the bridge as required during the hours of darkness

  • Improper communications

The Coast Guard’s PowerPoint presentation can be read in its entirety by clicking HERE.