NTSB Releases Report On Miss Roslyn Sinking

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its marine accident brief detailing the agency’s investigation into the October 2018 capsizing and sinking of the mv. Miss Roslyn on the Lower Mississippi River near Reserve, La.

The Miss Roslyn, part of Marquette Transportation Company’s Gulf-Inland Fleet, was doing fleet work around Mile 140 on the Lower Mississippi River the morning of October 9, 2018, with a captain and two deckhands aboard. According to NTSB, the Miss Roslyn arrived to the Terre Haute fleeting area near Mile 144.5 about 11 a.m. that morning, where it assisted building an eight-barge tow.

“The captain stated he pushed up against the tow at a 90-degree angle to the bank to keep the tow in place for 2.5 to 3 hours while the deckhands were building tow,” according to the NTSB report.

By about 4 p.m., the two deckhands completed their work building tow and returned to the Miss Roslyn. Within minutes, the vessel was underway again, heading downriver toward the Upper Reserve Anchorage “hugging the right descending bank.” The captain told the NTSB the vessel was listing “more than the normal starboard list.” After making several turns to even out the list, the captain continued down river. At 4:16 p.m., the captain reduced throttle, reported the problem to the port captain and sent the deckhands below to investigate.

The deckhands found the engineroom dry but the aft starboard deck “awash with 4 to 6 inches of water.” By 4:39 p.m., the captain stopped the vessel and went below to see for himself. By this time, the deck was covered in about a foot of water, according to the NTSB report. The captain again radioed to the port captain. About this time, according to NTSB, the captain aboard the Marquette mv. Joanne Marie cautioned against the Miss Roslyn continuing downstream to its crew change dock at CCI Upper Reserve fleet, suggesting instead that the Miss Roslyn go to shallower, calmer water on the east bank.

The captain aboard the Miss Roslyn began moving the vessel across the river at 4:50 p.m., with the mv. Kristy Dutsch following. About halfway across the river, water began coming over the starboard bulwark of the Miss Roslyn. According to the captain of the Miss Roslyn, the list became a “slow roll to starboard” about 50 feet from a moored fleet barge on the east bank.

“As soon as the Miss Roslyn touched the barge, the two deckhands jumped to the barge from the towboat’s push knees,” according to the NTSB report. “The captain then disembarked the Miss Roslyn by jumping from the stern onto the Kristy Dutsch.”

By 4:59 p.m., the Miss Roslyn was on the river bottom, with the port bow about 5 feet visible above the surface.

NTSB said after the incident a marine surveyor found “two wastage holes and a fractured weld seam at the main deck to the starboard steering void, which therefore was not watertight.” The agency determined that the time the Miss Roslyn spent pushing against the tow at a 90-degree angle likely submerged the wastage and fracture holes, which “allowed continuous water ingress to the starboard steering void for about three hours.”

The report concluded with the following probable cause statement: “The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the capsizing of the Miss Roslyn was the company’s lack of effective hull inspection and maintenance program, which resulted in flooding into a steering void through multiple wastage holes in the hull.”