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NTSB: Dredge crew not told about submerged pipeline

Jul 30, 2019 05:24 PM

A dropped spud led to a puncture and fire that caused more than $7.3 million in damage

Jonathon King Boyd burns after fire engulfed the dredge in Matagorda Bay, Texas.

Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Jonathon King Boyd burns after fire engulfed the dredge in Matagorda Bay, Texas.

The following is a marine accident brief from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB):

(WASHINGTON) — On the evening of April 17, 2018, the cutter suction dredge Jonathon King Boyd punctured a submarine natural gas pipeline with a spud during dredging operations in Matagorda Bay, Texas. A gas plume ignited and engulfed the dredge and its accompanying towboat, Bayou Chevron. All 10 crewmembers abandoned the vessels uninjured. Damage to the pipeline was estimated at $1.7 million. Jonathon King Boyd and Bayou Chevron were constructive total losses, valued at $5.5 million and $125,000 respectively.

Probable cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the fire aboard the cutter suction dredge Jonathon King Boyd was RLB Contracting’s failure to inform the crew about utilities in the area due to ineffective oversight, which led to dropping a spud onto a buried submarine pipeline, causing natural gas to release and ignite.

Click here to read the complete report.

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