Joint U.S. Coast Guard/National Transportation Safety Board hearings on the January crash of a cargo ship into the Eggners Ferry Bridge concluded Friday with testimony from vessel pilot Michael Collins. Collins was the last in a line of Kentucky Transportation workers, ship crew and representatives of vessel owner Foss Maritime who testified on policy, regulations, bridge lighting and ship conditions. Foss Senior Vice President of Operations Scott Merritt gave testimony Wednesday. After the hearing concluded, he said he could not confirm if his company would seek litigation.
On the second day of hearings on the January 26th Eggners Ferry Bridge accident, Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board questioned workers involved in the elision involving a Foss Maritime cargo ship and the bridge connecting Aurora to Land Between the Lakes. U.S. Coast Guard Court Recorder Nick Parham says as they investigate the causes of the crash, officials could discover that decisions made by multiple people led to the crash:
The first day testimonies in the Coast Guard’s Eggners Ferry Bridge hearing revolved around navigation lights. The hearing began yesterday and explored the causes of the January 26 incident involving a Foss Maritime cargo ship that collided with and collapsed a section of the bridge connecting Aurora to Land Between the Lakes.
The US Coast Guard will begin a formal hearing today to hear testimony regarding the collision between a cargo ship and the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge in late January. January 26th, the cargo ship Delta Mariner struck the span crossing Kentucky Lake causing portions to collapse. There were no deaths or injuries. Coast Guard officials say the purpose of the investigation is to examine the causes of the incident and make recommendations to help avoid similar incidents. It is not intended to determine civil or criminal responsibility.
A Coast Guard hearing on the collapse of the Eggner's Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake begins April 16 in Paducah. The hearing will set the stage for a comprehensive Coast Guard report.
The fact finding hearing will last up to seven days and include testimony from parties in interest, which will likely include the Commonwealth and Foss Maritime, which owns and operates the ship that collided with the bridge. The ship’s pilot is another likely witness. The pilots name hasn’t been released since the January collision, which collapsed a 322 foot span of the bridge.
The owners of a cargo ship that struck and collapsed part of the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge say they were not responsible because some of the bridge's lights were not working. Delta Mariner owner Foss Maritime made the claim in a federal lawsuit seeking to remove any liability from the late January collision on Kentucky Lake. The Miller Law Firm in Paducah is representing Foss in the suit. U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Jennifer Jessee says all aspects of the wreck are being reviewed and no cause has been determined.