AP NEWS

NTSB: Ineffective maintenance led to deadly 2017 barge blast

May 9, 2019
FILE - This Friday. Oct. 20, 2017 photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows a barge on fire approximately three miles from Port Aransas, Texas. In a report released on April 18, 2019, federal investigators concluded that the deadly blast resulted from the lack of effective maintenance and safety management of the barge. (U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

PORT ARANSAS, Texas (AP) — Federal investigators have concluded that a deadly 2017 barge blast in Port Aransas resulted from the lack of effective maintenance and safety management of the barge.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued its findings in a recent report on the Oct. 10, 2017, blast aboard the articulated tug and barge Buster Bouchard (boo-SHAHRD’) 3 miles (5 kilometers) off Port Aransas, Texas. The blast killed two crew members.

The board said the lack of maintenance resulted in crude oil cargo leaking through a corroded bulkhead into a void in a forward cabin, forming a vapor that ignited when the crew raised the anchor chain. The board also cited ineffective inspections and surveys by the U.S. Coast Guard and the American Bureau of Shipping.