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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PHX CorpI'll probaly Start the stream around 8PM Eastern08/31/2015 - 10:09pm
PHX CorpOk, see you guys Tomorrow on the GP Facebook Page, I'll be steaming either the first 2 megaman games(Through Megaman Legacy Collection) or Rare Replay as the first game on My twitch.tv page tomorrow While we wait for GP to Come back up later this week08/31/2015 - 10:01pm
james_fudgeAlso check out our Facebook page and chat there! https://www.facebook.com/gamepolitics08/31/2015 - 9:53pm
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james_fudgeAllright, i'll mention this on the GP facebook page08/31/2015 - 9:49pm
PHX Corpand now it's ready to go for everyone08/31/2015 - 9:35pm
PHX Corpok, done http://www.twitch.tv/trustygemtwitch I have to put on one more finishing touch and it is ready to go08/31/2015 - 9:19pm
Andrew EisenFeel free to leave us suggestions on Facebook or Twitter too. We're going to be busy but we'll try our best to keep an eye on 'em.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenIt's an interesting idea though. If we do anything, we probably won't know until after the site goes offline so keep an eye on GP social media for announcements.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
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Goth_SkunkThough I think the limit is 9 at a time in the hangout, so anyone who can't get in would be stuck out in the 'on air' portion.08/31/2015 - 8:57pm
Andrew EisenFor the show, I'd like the chat open to anyone who wants to watch.08/31/2015 - 8:55pm
PHX CorpI could Set Up a Temporary chatroom on My twitch.TV page while GP is busy updating the site(since I'll be Fighting Megaman Legacy Collection on Xbox one)08/31/2015 - 8:54pm
Goth_SkunkI don't see a problem with inviting viewers. It's not like I'm advocating this to be an open forum, just something specific to GP members.08/31/2015 - 8:53pm
Andrew EisenThat's why I embed the chat box from my Twitch Page. Can't get chat on the YouTube page to work either.08/31/2015 - 8:49pm
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Goth_SkunkThough I'm surprised you'd not be familiar with this, Andrew. Do you not use Google Hangouts when you do S.P.A.C.?08/31/2015 - 8:45pm
Andrew EisenGP Movie Night!08/31/2015 - 8:41pm
Big PermEveyone should be too busy with phantom pain to notice GP is down. Hail Vidya!08/31/2015 - 8:40pm
Goth_SkunkBut such a hangout *could* be a neat idea. It could be used, for example, for all us GPers to get together and watch the new FemFreq video, and then discuss amongst ourselves in real time what our thoughts are.08/31/2015 - 8:38pm

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