On May 7, 2018 about 1848 local time, the towing vessel Steve Richoux with five crewmembers was down bound on the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Louisiana, pushing six loaded cement barges when a steering system failure occurred. The pilot and the captain tried to regain steering control of the vessel.
Because the actuating rams for the flanking rudders and main rudders operated off the same hydraulic system, if the port flanking rudder remained in the hard-to-port position and the relief valve continued to lift, the system would not hold normal operating pressure for the rams. Therefore, even if an operator switched between the two hydraulic pumps to maintain system pressure, the rudders would not respond to any additional commands
The alarm for the the steering gear failure was labeled “SHIP SERV”
Alarm panel located on the starboard side of the wheelhouse near the deck. The alarm labeled “SHIPSERV” indicated that the steering system was over-pressurized.