NTSB report blames cellphone, laptop distraction for "Duck Boat" incident that killed 2, injured 26

Multitasking sinks ships. From gcaptain, the maritime professionals' blog:


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) today determined that the mate operating a tugboat near Philadelphia on July 7, 2010, failed to maintain a proper lookout while towing a barge up the Delaware River. The investigation revealed that the mate was inattentive to his duties while navigating the vessel because he was distracted by his repeated use of a cell phone and lap top computer while communicating with his family who were dealing with a family emergency.

In the accident, a 250-foot-long sludge barge was being towed alongside a 78.9-foot long tugboat (which had 5 crew on board). The barge collided with an anchored amphibious passenger vehicle (carrying 35 passengers and two crew members), which sank in about 55 feet of water. Two people on that passenger vessel were killed; 26 passengers and a crewmember suffered minor injuries.