Three Incidents, Then the Miss Dixie was Scrapped
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about the February 13, 2019 loss of steering response and subsequent collision involving the towing vessel Miss Dixie.
The vessel was transiting downbound with a crew of four and pushing five barges on the Lower Mississippi River near New Orleans, Louisiana, when she collided with the upbound towing vessel D.& R. Boney, which was pushing nine barges.
Several barges broke loose from their tows and were subsequently gathered up by the crews of the towing vessels. No injuries or pollution were reported. The cost of damages to four barges was $294,530.
The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the collision was the lack of an effective maintenance program aboard the Miss Dixie, resulting in excessive and undetected wear of the port clutch, which compromised the vessel’s maneuverability.
The vessel was acquired about six months before the accident. Prior to acquiring the vessel, both main engines were overhauled, but the owner did not know if this overhaul included the clutches. After the overhaul and before the purchase, the engines had been operated for 40 hours.
The Miss Dixie was involved in two other casualties in the weeks after the collision with the D.& R. Boney tow. 10 days later, while pushing three barges, the tow of the Miss Dixie struck a stationary barge near New Orleans. Two weeks later, the Miss Dixie experienced a crankcase explosion in the starboard engine, causing a fire in the engine room. After the fire was extinguished, the Miss Dixie was towed to shore.
On March 3, 2019 she was removed from active service and subsequently scrapped.
The NTSB report is available here.