By October 20, 2017 Read More →

Crude oil barge explodes off Texas coast, 1 dead, one missing

Oil barge explodes

Oil barge explodes while on route to the Port Aransas Jetty near Corpus Christi, Texas. US Coast Guard photo.

Oil barge explodes off Corpus Christi

One crew member is dead and another is missing after a fire and explosion aboard a barge carrying about 133,000 barrels of crude oil early on Friday morning off the Texas coast.

The US Coast Guard reports the explosion occurred at about 4:30 a.m., when the barge was in transit to a refinery in the Gulf of Mexico off Corpus Christi, Texas.

Captain Bobby Grumbles of the Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilots Association, told KRIS TV that the explosion occurred when a tug boat was pulling in anchor, about 3.25 miles offshore.

Grumbles says the barge was inbound, heading to the Gulf Copper Ship Yard in Port Aransas. The vessel was waiting to cross a sand bar with the assistance of the tug boat when the fire started.

There was no pilot on board when the explosion occurred.

Ralph Alvarado and his brother Phil, both of San Antonio, told KRIS TV that they were fishing when the blast occurred.  Ralph Alvarado said he heard a number of explosions and then saw a large mushroom cloud.

According to KRIS TV, the fire on the anchored ship is a controlled burn, not the oil. The tug boat has been detached from the barge and is also anchored.

Rick Adams with the City of Port Aransas says there is no hull breach.

The US Coast Guard and Texas General Land Office are investigating the incident and are on site, monitoring the accident scene.  The Port of Corpus Christi was closed following the explosion and fire.

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