Mooring System Failure Blamed in 2013 NH Bridge Accident
April 5, 2015
According to the Portland Press Herald, the National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the 2013 accident in which an oil tanker crashed into the Mildred Long Bridge spanning the Piscataqua River was caused by a failure of the ship’s mooring system. Specifically, the mooring winch brakes on the ship that are supposed to hold the mooring lines failed due to inadequate brake pad thickness, which had been detected during an earlier inspection. This, coupled with the strong tidal conditions in the river and inadequate number of mooring lines, caused the ship to break free of its mooring along the pier and crash into the bridge. The accident caused $2.5 million in damage to the Mildred Long Bridge and $1 million to the ship itself (fortunately, the hull was not breached). The owners of the ship are paying Maine and New Hampshire $1.3 million toward bridge repairs.