Capt. Daniel Ronan, Commander of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound and Captain of the Port said, “As tragic as this accident was it does reinforce the need for all of us to remain ever attentive to the rules of navigation and ever vigilant to the inherent dangers of the sea to ensure safety for ourselves and other mariners.”
Barkald-Essence collision follow-up
It has been more than a year since the tragic early morning collision between the 623-foot bulk carrier Barkald and the 92-foot sailing vessel Essence on Long Island Sound — an unfortunate accident that left Ms. Gina Bortolotti, the yacht’s cook and only licensed crewmember, dead.
The accident occurred on September 20, 2006, on a clear night with calms seas in the eastern part of the Sound about 12 miles southeast of New Haven, Conn. The yacht Essence had left Newport, R.I. and was westbound for Greenwich, Conn., when it collided with the bulk carrier, which was eastbound. All three crewmembers were thrown in the water and retrieved. The sailing vessel sank and has not been recovered. The mate of Essence (who was on watch at the time) and the captain survived. All three were taken to Yale New Haven Hospital where the men were treated for hypothermia and released; Ms. Bortolotti was pronounced dead.
After a lengthy investigation U.S. Coast Guard investigators found that “…the primary cause of the collision was the failure of the mate of the Essence to properly identify the aspect of the lights of Barkald and take proper action as required by the Inland Navigation Rules.” The investigators also cited a failure on the part of both vessels to adequately determine that a risk of collision existed as well as inadequate communications between both vessels as they approached each other in a meeting situation as contributing causes of the collision.