NTSB finds Master's role probable cause of Celebrity Infinity's allision with Ketchikan dock
By MARY KAUFFMAN
December 19, 2017
According the the recently released report by the NTSB, the probable cause of the allision was the ship master's failure to plan, monitor, and execute a safe docking evolution.
The report released on December 15, 2017, said the pilot told investigators that dropping the starboard anchor slowed the motion of the bow toward the pier. The master said that he then ordered chain to be paid out so the vessel could move forward and toward the dock; however, the VDR recording captured the master’s order as “hold the anchor.” According to the pilot, the thrusters and anchor were able to control the bow but “whatever maneuvers they made with the pods weren’t sufficient to hold the ship and it made a hard landing on the dolphins back there.” At 1355, with the after part of the vessel pivoting toward berth 3, the VDR recorded someone shouting, “the stern, the stern!” and, at 1356, the vessel allided with the berth.
The force of the allision opened a 9-inch-diameter hole in the vessel’s port side between frames 231 and 233, about 12 feet above the waterline. It also caused the deflection of vessel structural members. The berth suffered extensive damage to its catwalks and structural members.
The Celebrity Infinity VDR recorded a 40-knot wind gust. At the Ketchikan airport, an anemometer recorded a rooftop wind speed (a measurement taken from a height close to the same height as the Celebrity Infinity’s anemometer) of 50 knots shortly after the Celebrity Infinity docked, and according to the NTSB report, it is likely that the vessel also experienced wind gusts of 50 knots at the time of the docking.
Damage to Ketchikan's Berth III and the vessel was estimated at $1,153,738.
No injuries or pollution were reported as a result of the allision. The names of the persons on the bridge were redacted in the NTSB report.
The repair proposals were reviewed with the engineers on June 6, 2016, and the Ketchikan City Manager elected to award a repair contract to Turnagain Marine Construction in the amount of $928,580 under the provisions of the Municipal Code regarding public improvements on an emergency basis. Work began on June 7th and the contract included a requirement for the facility to be repaired and usable no later than July 5, 2016.
Celebrity Infinity is owned and operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. which is an American global cruise company incorporated in Liberia and based in Miami, Florida. It is the world's second-largest cruise line operator, after Carnival Corporation. As of March 2009, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. fully owns three cruise lines: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises.
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