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MV DELTA MARINER Rocket Carrier Destroys Kentucky Bridge

Posted on Friday, January 27, 2012 by

Update: February 1, the U.S. Coast Guard has received a salvage plan submitted by Foss Maritime, owners of the stranded DELTA MARINER.

Local divers have confirm that debris from the bridge was not in contact with the ship’s hull and importantly that the hull did not sustain any significant damage.

Foss will be using an Echoscope that uses sonar to create a three dimensional image of the ship’s hull, debris field, and the lake bottom. this is expected to reveal where all the bridge debris lies and, once the plan has been accepted, remove the remaining bridge sections from the foredeck and to move DELTA MARINER to a repair facility.

MV DELTA MARINER. Photo © The Boeing Company


Foss’ M/V DELTA MARINER, which carries rocket components to Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg (California) Air Force Base for the United Launch Alliance has collided with the Eggner Ferry Bridge at U.S. Highway 68 and Kentucky Highway 80 late Thursday.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said the three-story-high Motor Vessel Delta Mariner struck span “E” of the bridge around 8:10 p.m. Thursday. That span of bridge is 322 feet long.Officials said the bridge is closed to traffic, causing vehicles needing to cross the Kentucky Lake reservoir and the Tennessee River to be detoured for dozens of miles. The Coast Guard also blocked access to boat traffic at the bridge site.

Four vehicles were on the bridge at the time of the collision at 8:10pm Thursday, January 26. No injuries have been reported. High water levels may have played a role in the crash, the ship has passed under the bridge many times over the previous 10 years without a problem. Some reports stated that the navigation lights on the bridge were not lit.
M/V DELTA MARINER is a 312-foot long and 8,000 horsepower supply ship, which transports space-bound hardware, including the common booster cores, for the Boeing Delta IV rocket program. She is designed to navigate shallow inland waterways as well as the open ocean.  This specialty transport ship  hauls rocket components approximately 550 miles from the Boeing factory in Decatur, Alabama down the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway to Mobile Bay and into the Gulf of Mexico. The ship either rounds the Florida peninsula en route to Cape Canaveral or transits the Panama Canal en route to the western range Delta IV launch facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

M/V DELTA MARINER was launched on December 16, 1999 on the Pascagoula River, built by Halter Maritime for Foss Marine of Seattle, Washington.

3 Responses to MV DELTA MARINER Rocket Carrier Destroys Kentucky Bridge

  1. Glenn L.

    January 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Thanks for the in-depth story, I don’t think it’s the first time a NASA delivery had come to harm; I remember reading about a multi-million dollar main fuel tank (yes, the big tank on the space shuttle) being delivered via the Gulf of Mexico on a barge and her tow lines broke loose during a storm. The barge was adrift when a tanker responded and lassoed the barge at the risk of her own peril. The captain of the tanker was familiar with salvage law and collected a multi-million dollar reward after courts awarded it.

  2. Kate Lochte

    February 9, 2012 at 6:49 am

    Why are the names of the captain of the Delta Mariner and its river pilots being withheld?

  3. Richard O.

    March 10, 2012 at 8:54 am

    The captains are lloyd patten and john skeffington.

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