A $12 Million Ship Collision Was Caused By a Texting Employee Investigators found that the watch officer made a personal phone call and sent text messages prior to the collision.

By Sam Silverman

Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Jackson Offshore Holdings LLC Thunder petroleum industry supply vessel sits docked in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, U.S.,

Texting isn't just a bad idea when driving a car. A ship officer is in deep water after causing a major collision last July.

The operator, who has yet to be named, was supposed to be keeping watch when bulk carrier Bunun Queen and supply vessel, Thunder, crashed into each other off the coast of Louisiana. According to a newly released report from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Thunder employee was found to be the culprit after investigators discovered they were texting on the job.

The collision caused flooding and resulted in $12 million in damages to both vessels. There were no reported injuries.

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The report notes the incident occurred during "good visibility, daylight and fair-weather conditions" and that the Thunder watch officer made a personal phone call and sent multiple text messages using voice dictation before the crash, and therefore distracted.

The investigation also found that watch officers aboard the Bunun Queen were not keeping a proper watch, either.

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"Using cell phones and other personal electronic devices has been demonstrated to be visually, manually, and cognitively distracted," the National Transportation Safety Board report states. "Nonoperational use of cell phones should never interfere with the primary task of a watchstander or a bridge team member to maintain a proper lookout."

It has yet to be reported whether the watch officers responsible for the collision are still on the job.

Sam Silverman

Entrepreneur Staff

Content Strategy Editor

Sam Silverman is a content strategy editor at Entrepreneur Media. She specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), and her work can be found in The US Sun, Nicki Swift, In Touch Weekly, Life & Style and Health. She writes for our news team with a focus on investigating scandals. Her coverage and expertise span from business news, entrepreneurship, technology, and true crime, to the latest in entertainment and TV news. Sam is a graduate of Lehigh University and currently resides in NYC. 

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