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October 20th, 2011

NTSB Says Uncorrected Sheering Motion, Fatigue, Distraction Caused Texas Maritime Accident

The National Transportation Safety Board has released the results of an investigation  into a maritime accident in the Sabine-Neches Canal last year that resulted in thousands of gallons of oil being spilled into the water.

The accident occurred in January 2010, and involved a collision between the tank ship Eagle Otome the cargo vessel Gulf Arrow, and the tow, Dixie Vengeance. According to the National Transportation Safety Board report, the accident was caused by the failure of the first pilot of the Eagle Otome to correct sheering motion that began as a result of a late turn at a bend in the waterway.

Further, the pilot had been fatigued at the time of the accident. The pilot suffered from sleep apnea, a condition in which a person suffers from disturbed sleep during the daytime because of breathing interruptions during sleep at night. As a result, the person may suffer from insufficient sleep, and may be lethargic and tired the next day. Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition in anyone operating machinery, vessels and vehicles. Additionally, the National Transportation Safety Board says that the pilot had a tough work schedule that increased fatigue, and did not give him adequate time for rest.

According to the report, the pilot was also distracted at the time of the accident. He was busy attending to a radio call. According to guidelines, it was the second pilot who should have attended to the radio call. The Board also blames lack of oversight by the Jefferson County and Orange County Board of Pilot Commissioners for the accident.

The maritime law lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  represent persons injured in maritime accidents across Texas and nationwide.

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