The Aftermath: NTSB Releases Findings - Yachts International

The Aftermath: NTSB Releases Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its findings on the horrific launch accident of Northern Marine's 90-foot expedition yacht Bäden,which capsized onto her port side during the launch and settled to the bottom of the launch area.
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Northern Marine's 90-foot BADEN capsized during launch in Anacortes in 2014.

Northern Marine's 90-foot BADEN capsized during launch in Anacortes in 2014.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its findings on the horrific launch accident of Northern Marine's 90-foot expedition yacht Bäden,which capsized onto her port side during the launch and settled to the bottom of the launch area.

CLICK HERE for the official report.

The newly built yacht Bäden was being launched stern first down the Fidalgo Marina boat ramp in Anacortes, Washington, with eight shipyard personnel on board when it capsized after entering the water at 2050 on Sunday, May 18, 2014. The yacht was salvaged but was declared a total constructive loss, estimated at $10 million. Three shipyard personnel who were trapped below decks for up to half an hour were treated for minor cuts and injuries at local hospitals.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • About 2037, with the transom immersed and the swim steps forward of the swim platform beginning to get wet, launch team members said they heard a sudden loud clank and crunching sound from the stern area. Then the boat shifted bodily on the front cradle and lurched to port where it remained heeled to about 12 degrees...
  • The team decided to continue the launch, in part because they could not pull the yacht back out of the water and they feared it would roll over when the tide went out. The safety coordinator said the team felt comfortable continuing and did so about 12 minutes later. The launch team believed the boat would right itself from the port list once it floated free from its cradles...
  • When they continued, the safety coordinator said that initially the boat “didn’t want to go.” When the crane operator released the brakes, the cables between the dollies and the crane went slack...
  • The buyer’s representative heard unsecured items moving inside the boat (lazarette ballast, appliances, and equipment), and a few seconds later the roll rate increased and the boat quickly capsized, drifted into the marina, and began filling with water through its engine air intakes...
  • Launch crew in the engine room said tools and equipment moved to port as the vessel rolled over. They initially considered exiting through the lazarette to the stern swim platform, but when they saw water leaking into the engine room through the lazarette door, they determined the lazarette was likely flooded. They recalled that a portlight (a watertight window that does not open) in a starboard-side head directly forward of the engine room was cracked and might provide an escape, so they made their way there...
  • Standing on the starboard side of the hull above the waterline, the launch team used a rock to break the glass portlight for the head and began clearing it. Water had been slowly rising inside the head, but when the portlight was broken, water rushed in. Four crewmembers were removed, but a fifth person could not fit through the portlight. Local emergency responders used a fire ax to further clear the portlight, enabling the last launch crewmember to be pulled free...
  • The captain cut his hand while clearing the portlight glass, and paramedics on scene directed him to a hospital. Two other trapped persons were treated at local hospitals for minor cuts and injuries received while being extricated through the portlight hole...
  • Due to water damage to interior woodwork, machinery, and electrical systems and expenses associated with repairing the vessel, at the time of this report the Baaden was considered a total constructive loss with an estimated value of $10 million...
  • The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the capsizing of the yacht Baaden during its initial launch was the vessel’s low margin of stability due to the combined effects of a recording error during the final vessel weigh, which resulted in an incorrect assessment of the vessel’s center of gravity, and an overestimation of the weight of installed ballast...
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