The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued its findings in the collision incident with the Carnival Triumph at BAE Systems shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. After experiencing a fire in the engine room, the Triumph was towed to Mobile for repairs.
During the repairs, there were high wind gusts, and the ship broke free from its moorings and drifted across the Mobile River, where it collided with the moored dredge vessel Wheeler. Also, according to the report, a responding towing vessel, the Noon Wednesday, became pinned between the Triumph and the dredger. One shipyard employee died in the accident, another was injured. The total damage was estimated to $2.9 million, of which $2.7 million affected the cruise ship.
The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the breakaway of the Triumph from its moorings was the successive failure of multiple mooring bollards, which, it said, were known by BAE Systems to be in poor condition with an undetermined mooring load capability.
The Triumph was moored with 10 lines forward and 10 lines aft affixed to eight bollards. During wind gusts that were measured up to 65 mph aboard the ship, three mooring lines at the aft first parted from their mounts, setting the stern adrift. The end section of the pier collapsed into the water and two shipyard employees fell in of which one was rescued. Eventually all ship-to-shore connections broke free, including the electrical service connection.
The Noon Wednesday responded to an emergency call from the Triumph’s captain, but was unable to stop the ship from drifting. The captain eventually dropped both anchors.
The damage to the Triumph included punctures of the hull steel plating and distortion of the vertical and horizontal framing.