Missed rock on navigational chart led to 2023 grounding of ATB near Kodiak, Alaska

The ATB Cingluku/Jungjuk (background) transporting construction equipment in Marshall, Alaska
The ATB Cingluku/Jungjuk (background) transporting construction equipment in Marshall, AlaskaBrice Marine

An articulated tug and barge (ATB) hit a known underwater rock near Kodiak, Alaska, last year, leading to a grounding that caused US$1.4 million in damages, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said earlier this week. The tug Cingluku and barge Jungjuk were transiting into Shakmanof Cove from Marmot Bay with six crewmembers on board when the incident occurred on May 25, 2023.

Cingluku and Jungjuk operated together as an ATB and were primarily used to transport containerised cargo and vehicles. While approaching the entrance to the cove, the barge grounded on a submerged rock, damaging the barge’s steel hull. No pollution or injuries were reported, and there was no damage to the tug.

​The captain plotted a route into Shakmanof Cove in the vessel’s electronic chart system (ECS) using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) electronic navigational chart (ENC) for Marmot Bay and Kupreanof Strait. As the ATB was turning near the entrance of the cove, the barge ran aground on a charted submerged rock that was not detectable on radar or through a visual lookout. Although the rock was charted on the ENC, the captain did not notice the asterisk marking the rock’s location.

​​“Owners and operators should ensure their crews are sufficiently trained in the use of their ECS and understand how to use the different functionalities of the ECS,” the NTSB report said. “An ECS offers advanced features that can help users increase their vessel’s safety and crew situational awareness of potential safety hazards. In some cases, incorrect or non-use of these features may even reduce situational awareness to certain hazards, such as submerged rocks.”

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