MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Officials have released more information about a towboat that sank in the Mississippi River in December 2017.
Keith Pigram, the boat’s captain, and his stepson, Anquavioius Newson, were on board the boat when it sank Dec. 8, 2017 at about 11:26 a.m.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its official report on Thursday, Feb. 14.
The reports states that the vessel began taking on water before it sank.
The pilot made a distress call just before the sinking; neither crewmember was found during the search and rescue operations that followed.
When the vessel was recovered 9 days later, the deckhand’s body was discovered inside the wreckage; the pilot is presumed to be dead.
Approximately 200 gallons of diesel oil were released into the river. Damage to the Ricky Robinson was estimated at $1.5 million.
The NTSB determines that the probable cause of the sinking of the towing vessel Ricky Robinson was the pilot’s decision to proceed with unsecured deck hatches at a speed that resulted in water on deck and flooding of the aft voids.
Contributing to the sinking was the company’s inadequate oversight to ensure that crews kept hatches closed while the vessel was under way and that ongoing watertight issues with the voids were addressed.