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Texas dredge barge hits pipeline, catches on fire (UPDATE)

Apr 18, 2018 02:16 PM

All 10 crewmembers on Jonathon King Boyd are safe after the incident near Port O'Connor

Responders inspect Jonathon King Boyd on Wednesday following the fire off Port O'Connor, Texas.

Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Responders inspect Jonathon King Boyd on Wednesday following the fire off Port O'Connor, Texas.

The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) — A Unified Command consisting of Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, Genesis Energy and RLB Contracting Inc. continues to respond to a damaged natural gas pipeline near Port O'Connor, Texas, on Thursday.

The dredging barge Jonathon King Boyd, which caught fire after puncturing a gas pipeline while conducting dredging operations Tuesday evening approximately 2 miles from Port O’Connor, was safely towed to Port Lavaca and moored at a RLB Contracting Inc. facility.

Coast Guard and Texas General Land Office crews conducted an on scene assessment around the area of the incident Thursday morning and viewed no signs of pollution or sheen.

An Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, hydrographic survey team is preparing to survey the pipeline to ensure the damaged area does not protrude from the ocean floor, as well as confirm there is no longer natural gas being released from the pipeline.

A one-mile safety zone remains in effect. The Intracoastal Waterway remains closed to traffic from mile marker 468 to mile marker 474 to include the Matagorda Ship Channel from the jetties to seven nautical miles inside the bay.

PREVIOUS REPORT

(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) — A Unified Command consisting of Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office and RLB Contracting Inc. continues to respond to a gas pipeline fire near Port O'Connor, Texas, on Wednesday.

Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi watch standers received a mayday Tuesday evening from the captain of the dredging barge Jonathon King Boyd, who reported the vessel was on fire after hitting a gas pipeline while conducting dredging operations. Genesis Energy owns the pipeline.

The fire on the dredging barge is reported to be extinguished and will be closely monitored for the potential of reflash. Port Lavaca Fire Department and a firefighting barge are on scene to conduct firefighting operations.

Horizon Environmental has placed containment boom around Jonathon King Boyd as a precaution in case fuel or oil discharge.

A one-mile safety zone remains in effect around the dredge. The Intracoastal Waterway remains closed to traffic from mile marker 468 to mile marker 474 to include the Matagorda Ship Channel from the jetties to seven nautical miles inside the bay.

Natural gas continues to burn from the pipeline, with the pipeline’s pressure decreasing. The impacted pipeline is secured; the remaining gas is residual.

The 10 crewmembers aboard Jonathan King Boyd were safely removed Tuesday evening by the crew of the good Samaritan vessel First State, which was on scene at the time of the fire.

"The safety of our response personnel, environmental protection, and opening up local waterway traffic, are among our highest priorities," said Lt. j.g. Andrew Garcia, Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi incident commander. "We continue to work with our partner agencies and responsible party to contain any potential discharge of fuel in order to mitigate environmental impacts."

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