The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the grounding of the New Delhi Express was the error of the docking pilot in not using all available resources to determine the vessel’s position as he navigated the Kill Van Kull waterway.
Contributing to the cause of the grounding was the failure of both pilots to practice good bridge resource management.
"This accident could have been prevented if previously issued safety recommendations regarding bridge resource management had been implemented," said NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker. "Since 1974, the Safety Board has investigated numerous accidents where the officers on the bridge and pilots failed to function as a team and we have issued numerous recommendations to prevent these types of accidents."
On April 15, 2006, the container ship New Delhi Express arrived at the entrance of New York Harbor after a transatlantic voyage. Aboard the vessel were a master, 21 crewmembers, three passengers, and a Sandy Hook pilot. A docking pilot boarded the vessel near Kill Van Kull and assumed the navigational control. The ship was traveling westbound in zero visibility fog when it struck a submerged ledge, took on water through a hull breach caused by the impact and ran aground in the waterway. At the time of the accident, the docking pilot was navigating the vessel. Two of the three tugs assisting the ship were also damaged.
As a result of this accident, the safety Board made the following recommendations:
To the U.S. Coast Guard:
1. Use the circumstances of this accident related to the improper redeployment of buoy 14 in Kill Van Kull waterway as a "lesson learned" and disseminate the information to appropriate personnel, emphasizing the need to verify all buoy positioning data during routine position checks and during buoy redeployments.
To State Commissions whose harbor pilots work with docking pilots:
2. Require your harbor and docking pilots to take part in recurrent joint training exercises that emphasize the concept and procedures of bridge resource management.