AmericasOperationsPorts and Logistics

Search suspended for crewman from barge blast, entrance to Corpus Christi reopened

Authorities have suspended the search for a missing crewman from an oil barge that suffered an explosion and blaze off Texas near Port Aransas on Friday.

One person was reported dead and six other of the eight crew members were rescued from the barge, which was carrying 133,000 barrels of crude bound for a Corpus Christi refinery when the blast happened on the forward part of the vessel.

Entrance and jetty channels leading to the Corpus Christi Ship Channel from Harbor Island to offshore were reopened after being temporarily closed.

The US Coast Guard (USCG) said a comprehensive search had been conducted for the missing person over two days and will be resumed if new information about their status or location is discovered.

In the meantime, oil discharge recovery vessels and other ships near the barge will remain vigilant for the missing person.

An oil spill of about 2,000 barrels from the barge was being dealt with and clean-up was ongoing both in the water and on the shores of Mustang Island and North Padre Island where matter had washed up.

A 1,000-yard safety zone was set up around the barge and lightering operations removed about 2,500 barrels of oil water mix.

The barge had been repaired of leaks and was anchored about three miles offshore.

At the time of the incident the barge was being towed by tugboat, the Buster Bouchard, operated by Bouchard Transportation Co of Melville, New York.

Corpus Christi Ship Channel extends from the Gulf of Mexico through jetties in Port Aransas and across Corpus Christi Bay. It serves Port Corpus Christi, Harbor Island and Ingleside and extends into the La Quinta Channel.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.


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