NTSB: Carnival Pride Was Moving Too Fast Before 2016 Crash in Locust Point

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Photo by U.S. Coast Guard, via NTSB

Ten months after the Carnival Pride cruise ship destroyed a gangway and three parked cars while trying to dock in Locust Point, federal authorities say the ship was approaching the pier too quickly and at too steep of an angle.

The National Transportation Safety Board today published a marine accident brief about the Pride‘s crash on May 8, 2016. Investigators wrote that docking maneuver errors and insufficient oversight led to the crash, though to put their words bluntly, the ship was moving far too quickly for the captain to safely dock.

In technical terms: “The staff captain realized that the angle of approach was too steep and the speed was too fast. In order to gain more thrust as well as control the vessel’s rate of closure with the dock, he attempted to transfer from joystick to manual control at the bridge wing console.”

The latter move was meant to give the captain control over the propulsion and steer the cruise ship away from the dock. However, it didn’t work. Another captain then grabbed control, shifted it back to the center console and tried to “[apply] full thrust” to slow it down, “but not before the bulbous bow struck the fendering and under-pier support columns” of the pier. The bow hit the gangway first, which then hit the ship’s observation platform and fell on three parked port department vehicles, according to the report.

The damage, investigators say: $2,085,0000. The gangway accounted for $2 million, the three cars for $75,000 and repairs to the ship’s hull for the remaining $10,000.

For a crash landing, it could have been much worse. Some passengers reportedly didn’t know even know their cruise ship had hit anything. Even with 2,449 travelers and 913 crew members on board, no one was hurt, and zero environmental pollution was reported.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only crash of the sailing season. In late August, the much-smaller Spirit of Baltimore crashed into a marina in Fells Point on a late night cruise, sending two passengers to the hospital. The U.S. Coast Guard later found the captain had dozed off after sailing ships for far too long that day.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Associate Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan is Baltimore Fishbowl's associate editor. He previously covered Baltimore-area news as a web producer for Fox45/WBFF-TV. Before arriving in Baltimore, he worked as an assistant editor for CQ Researcher in Washington D.C., and a reporter for Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. Look for his freelance bylines in Baltimore City Paper and DCist.
Ethan McLeod
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