Coast Guard: Alaskan Tug Boat Captain Ran Aground Due to Video Games

May 12, 2011 -

A safety-escort tug that ran aground two years ago on Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef went off course because of a captain who was playing video games, according to a report from the U.S. Coast Guard. The tugboat ran aground at the very same site where the Exxon Valdez disaster occurred. The tugboat Pathfinder was part of a navigation safety system established in the aftermath of the 1989 oil spill and was designed to guide oil tankers through the sound after they fill up with crude at the trans-Alaska pipeline's maritime terminal in Valdez.

But the tug boat operated by the Crowley Marine Services ended up striking the same submerged reef that ripped open the hull of the Exxon Valdez supertanker, causing the worst tanker spill in U.S. waters.

The Coast Guard report, which is dated May 5 and has not been released publically, was issued to various parties investigating the 2009 tugboat accident, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Walter Shinn. A final report releases later in the week. The report comes out of the Coast Guard's Alaska office in Juneau.

The Pathfinder spilled 6,410 gallons of diesel fuel after it struck Bligh Reef on the evening of December 23, 2009. The vessel was headed back to Valdez after scouting for floating ice in the area traveled by oil tankers.

According to the Coast Guard report, Captain Eugene Monsen did several things wrong that caused the accident. First, he changed the Pathfinder's course despite losing track of the vessel's precise location, then increased speed and failed to properly communicate with other officers. The Coast Guard puts the blame for his inattentive behavior on playing "hearts" and other games on his computer and had his back turned to the bridge.

"The fact that he went to the computer to play video games after a course change further aggravates the situation and amplifies the lack of attention on the bridge between the master and second mate," the report read.

The Coast Guard report also noted that the captain and his second mate were in direct violation of company operating and safety policies. Despite slightly exonerating the ship company, the report also recommended that the company update its policies, specifically calling for new provisions to address crew members' use of cell phones and recreational electronic devices that provide access to music, phone calls and video games.

"Games, music, phone calls to far-away family are a strong temptation and could easily distract a ship's officer from maintaining a proper lookout," the report read.

Crowley Maritime Corp. spokesman Mark Miller said that the Pathfinder's captain and second mate were fired after it was determined that they violated safety policies. The incident was an exception rather than the norm, the company claims.

"Crowley has a proven record of safe and reliable operations in Alaska. It deeply regrets the Pathfinder grounding incident," Miller said.

Source: MSNBC


 
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Have you visited a video game arcade in the last year?:

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MechaTama31I sure have. Dorky's barcade in Tacoma, WA.08/20/2014 - 5:56pm
Matthew WilsonI have not been to a arcade in years. I know arcades are still big in japan.08/20/2014 - 5:38pm
Sleaker@AE - Ah no it's called GroundKontrol - I was just referring to it as a Bar-Arcade.08/20/2014 - 4:39pm
Andrew EisenStill looking for confirmation that High Moon Studios (dev behind the PS3/360 versions) isn't working on it.08/20/2014 - 4:38pm
ZenGotcha.08/20/2014 - 4:37pm
Andrew EisenI already updated the story with it!08/20/2014 - 4:36pm
Zenhttp://www.gonintendo.com/s/235574-treyarch-isn-t-working-call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-for-wii-u-either08/20/2014 - 4:36pm
ZenLet me send the link for the Tweet as well...they state Treyarch is not working on it. Grabbing it now.08/20/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenWhere does it say that "NO dev is working on it"?08/20/2014 - 4:33pm
ZenHere's the link for my last comment: http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/08/20/call-of-duty-advanced-warfare-not-coming-to-wii-u08/20/2014 - 4:24pm
ZenWell, Call of Duty is skipping Wii U completely it seems...they updated that NO dev is working on it. Great way to just skip a market.08/20/2014 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenYeah, Dave and Busters back in 2011 was the last time for me.08/20/2014 - 4:16pm
ZenWell, I tried lol. We just got a Dave and Busters on the beach but haven't been there yet...may go this weekend.08/20/2014 - 3:52pm
Andrew EisenIt's called The Bar-Arcade? Missed opportunity. I would have gone with Barcade.08/20/2014 - 3:25pm
SleakerThe Bar-Arcade however did have a lot of good pinball machines, they were however always taken as the place was packed..08/20/2014 - 1:17pm
Sleakerso I've been to an Arcade-Bar, not that great of a place has some okay machines, but generally over-packed. And then all the kid-friendly ones have is ticket-games nothing actually good unfortunately :(08/20/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenIf it has an area dedicated to arcade machines, I'd say it counts. Arcade machine in your house though, nope.08/20/2014 - 12:16pm
ZenDoes it count if you have actual arcade machines in your house?08/20/2014 - 12:01pm
E. Zachary KnightWith the current poll, I guess it all depends on how one defines "arcade". If Chuck E Cheese or similar multipurpose businesses count, then that is a yes for me.08/20/2014 - 11:59am
ZenLet the ax fall Sleaker...lessons MUST be learned...08/20/2014 - 11:44am
 

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