Tug and Barge Grounding Near Kodiak, Alaska Causes $1.4 Million in Damages

From the report:

The captain plotted a route into Shakmanof Cove in the vessel’s electronic chart system, or ECS, using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration electronic navigational chart, or ENC, for Marmot Bay and Kupreanof Strait. As the ATB was turning near the entrance of the cove, the barge ran aground on a charted submerged rock that was not detectable on radar or through a visual lookout. Although the rock was charted on the ENC, the captain did not notice the asterisk marking the rock’s location.

Link to the NTSB report: Grounding of Articulated Tug and Barge Cingluku/Jungjuk

Interesting report wrt the ENC symbols.





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From the article: “Although the rock was marked on the ENC, the captain failed to notice the asterisk indicating its location.”

Our cars gps will come over the speaker system & let us know when there’s a disabled vehicle, heavy traffic or a speed trap ahead. How long before the bridge teams get a smart, AI, integrated navigation system that tells the captain to look out for that asterisk/rock? It shouldn’t be that hard to do, we could probably get AI to make one for us.

Too much reliance on electronic wizardry can be problematic in a tight channel/entrance. Knowing the area and the respective no-go zones is crucial, even “Way back when”


There’s already about 200 different ways to do that with any nav system currently in use.

People have been doing dumb shit and hitting rocks forever. When the machines take over and enslave us to use as batteries, AI driven human cattle carriers will hit rocks while old robots chuckle and shake their heads.


I work below the waterline & didn’t know they have that tech yet. I’m familiar with the depth sounder but knows it only tells you the depth or gives a warning of whats directly under the transducer which on an ATB would be well astern on the unit. Rocks, sunken boats & other underwater obstructions can poke up in deep, navigable channels real quick I’m sure. I bet that Capt, his employer & their insurance agent wish he had any 1 of those 200 devices turned on. I won’t be surprised to hear 4th Mate Siri’s voice up in the bridge whenever it becomes economical feasible to tie all those 200 ways together.

I know I don’t have a problem working in an almost fully automated engine room whenever I get the chance. Nothing wrong with a clipboard, a pencil, flashlight & carrying a temperature gun every hour or 4 but it’s nowhere as efficient as a computer monitoring 3000+ temps, positions, pressures & levels every 5 seconds.

I bet they were all on. They just don’t do much good if the guy at the helm isn’t paying attention.

Good practice is to look at the chart if you are going to a port you’ve never been to before. A good voyage plan helps too.

Making voyage plans sucked but they helped me learn the route and what the captain and I needed to look out for.


You mean like an ECDIS alarm for obstruction? Or using the “check route function” when creating a route?


Or if the guy in the wheelhouse has the ECDIS on silent because of all the nuisance alarms. I’m ashamed to say how many ships I’ve been on where this is the norm.

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“Mate why is this yellow box here? I don’t want it make it as small as you can and turn it off”


The Isolated danger symbol is perhaps the most useless icon on the ECDIS. A rock like this an a seismic monitor of unknown size in 1000’ of water should not cause the same alarm.


See, thats what I was talking about. The voice on my gps won’t tell me traffic is backed up on the bridge above me when I’m going under it. The AI gps tells me, “There’s heavy traffic ahead” & shows red when it actually affects my route. Instead of the same buzzer sound for nearly everything, have an annoying, smart lady, insincere voice like we use to get to work or to the airport. People seldom hit rocks or arrive late when driving to the airport. Some MIT students could write the program in a day probably.

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Your GPS will only tell you that if it knows the route you are taking. That is almost analogous to the system the tug had. If the captain had input the actual draft of the vessels along with the appropriate safety, shallow and deep contour depths, the ECS could have alerted him with an obstacle alert when the route he input would cross the hazard.

But he didn’t use that functionality.

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When we first got the ECDIS installed we were technically/legally still using paper charts, the ECDIS was “For training only”. But watching the mates working I observed they quickly starting relying upon the ECDIS, often the correct paper chart wasn’t even on the table.

Before taking the class none of us did a deep dive into the manuals. Just enough to get it up and running.

I’d guess about 99% of vessels with ENCs are using it the same way as this ATB.

During planning crews should at least be turning on the Isolated Danger Symbol to check the areas of shoal water for hazards.


Does Rose point actually have this functionality? It’s been a while since I’ve sailed on a vessel running that system, however I recall it being a “follow the dotted line” program with less route check than the Wartsila Navi sailor. I’ve tried to replicate the situation on Open CPN, and I can’t even get the isolated danger marks to come up like they are supposed to. Clearly the NTSB made it work.

When the isolated danger symbol feature was enabled, the isolated danger
symbol appeared over the rock that the ATB struck, regardless of the entered safety
contour depth or vessel draft

I can’t really blame them for running this way, the very mission of these units generally involves running up on a beach generally covered in what would be isolated dangers. It’s a lot of clutter and a lot of alarms. Couple that with the fact that the most recent surveys of some of the areas are circa 1850, they are mostly correct when they say:

The ATB crew stated that they did not use the contour depth feature on their ECS because “for most of the spots we operate, the soundings don’t really mean anything.”

I only spent one season up there but I do recall running in the channel, but being half a mile inland on the chart. I sailed with captains who had hundreds of past tracks up, because, well, they didn’t run aground last time they followed that line, so it should be good this time. I’m not sure a paper chart would have prevented this, given it’s practically same symbol

The NTSB really is beating up on this crew when they are doing the best with the equipment and information they have. Most ECDIS/ECS type equipment is not made for what they do, and the information from OCS in those areas are not accurate to begin with. I love how they quote the Coast Pilot saying the rock is listed, but you know what else is listed in the coast pilot? a bunch of shit that hasn’t existed since the '80s.

But on the other hand, you can clearly see the rock on satellite view.

I harp on this all the time, it drives me wild. If a 3rd mate graduated without knowing how put a fix or a PI line on a paper chart, they would not be a 3rd mate very long, yet without fail I keep showing seasoned masters how to put a manual fix or a PI line on the ECDIS. This is a major issue in our industry, but I’m not sure how to solve the problem.


So it’s a multi layered issue and not as simple as you’d think. Currently, the layers of safety are generally a route check that automatically scans within so many nautical miles of the track line and comes up with a warning about every “hazard” you will meet along the route. I always double check if it says Nav Hazard, but I don’t actually care about half of the cable crossings, military exercise areas, or restricted areas. Half the time the restrictions are in place so I can be there. Also, if you aren’t careful and don’t have the cross track distance set right, it will tell you every buoy is a navigation hazard.

On top of that you have the look ahead box, which I find is usually tuned off because it’s scary, the theory is its scanning in real time what your planned cross track distance is, and looking ahead for what you “fix interval” would have been on a paper chart. (The Idea being like you would have put down a fix, and then DR’d out to check the track line, it’s doing the same thing automatically.) The idea is that this is real time route check for what’s in front of you in case you wander from the cross track that was already checked. It will even highlight in yellow/red what the danger is. The problem is, this alarms constantly, needs to be adjusted depending on the situation. Half the problem would be fixed if they would give me an option for three presets, where I can toggle between an Ocean, near Coastal, and inland mode, but when the Charts causing the alarm are not coded properly, that’s when folks just turn it off. People are scared being followed by the yellow box because they are in a fairway. Or I could imagine the voice warning me about every buoy, but yes, I am in a buoyed channel, I certainly hope there is a buoy.

I do think there should be different alarm sounds based of red or yellow and orange dangers, but that’s also something that gets beat to death here.


It’s astounding the amount of people who don’t trust or care to learn electronics or computers even in 2024. It’s part of your job to know how to use all available equipment, yet I know so many guys, especially in the tug world, who can’t or refuse to even change the AIS status. It’s simple shit. It drives me crazy, the rock is clearly marked on the chart plotter. Yet, the “I don’t need no god dayum computer hurr durr” philosophy still runs rampant. Thought it would’ve died with the boomers retiring, but I’m seeing younger guys with this ideology too. It’s not so much in the ship world, I guess tug guys, while being hard working, are just a different class of people. Yah sure you can fix that 1968 Mustang better than any one, but you don’t care at all to keep up in the modern world and learn some basic tech? Ships suck, tugs suck, haven’t given OSVs a fair run - but I think it’s time to find a different job myself rather than deal with these goofballs out here.


This is a very small, new, shallow draft freight ATB (maybe 70’ tug with 5’ draft and 200’ ramp barge with a max draft of maybe 10’)owned by Brice Marine. Essentially, it’s a landingcraft with a pin on engineroom and wheelhouse. It primarily does construction related work, often in totally uncharted areas. Its NOT an oil transport ATB.

Its highly unlikely that it would have ECDIS. I’d bet strongly on Rosepoint ECS.

The captain is a capable guy with years of successful operation in Alaska.

When someone goes into small seldom navigated gunkholes and rock piles to service remote construction projects, all the time, day after day, year after year, occasionally unfortunate shit will happen.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the grounding of the articulated tug and barge Cingluku/Jungjuk was the captain not identifying a rock

Penetrating analysis, that.


I figured as much but it’s good to have it confirmed.

This incident however doesn’t fit in the 'shit happens" category. That phrase implies an unexpected event. Laying down a trackline over a charted rock is a planning error. It’s hardly unexpected that the vessel would strike the rock in that situation.

From the report:

Owners and operators should ensure their crews are sufficiently trained in the use of their electronic chart system (ECS) and understand how to use the different functionalities of the ECS.

It was Rosepoint software. The problem with rock symbol being difficult to see with the isolated danger symbol shut off is a latent error. ECDIS software works the same way. The failure of the company to provide sufficient training is a systematic error.

If it could happen to this captain it could happen to anyone. When the ECDIS first got installed none of mates knew how to set it up properly. That was mates with 5 day of ECDIS training and a certificate.

In our case the problem was solved by writing up a procedure for ECDIS set-up and providing a checklist.

My impression of the NTSB report is the error was the failure of the company to provide sufficient training.

The way the ECS was set up the submerged rock symbol on the ENC was more difficult to see.

I agree with you about the coast pilot, it is tedious to use. That said I’ve found that the most efficient way to quickly orient with an unfamiliar port is to sit down with the Coast Pilot (or Sailing Directions) and a paper chart.

A laptop / tablet with a NOAA raster chart also would work.