Coast Guard to hold public hearing for Bouchard No. 255 tank barge incident

The Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, and Bouchard Transportation representatives continue to respond to an oil discharge from a barge that caught fire and was extinguished on Friday three miles off the jetties of Port Aransas, Texas. Response efforts continue to minimize impact to the environment and the maritime community, which has enabled the Coast Guard to reopen the impacted ship channels.

File photo of Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, and Bouchard Transportation representatives responding to an oil discharge from the Bouchard Barge No. 255 tank barge that caught fire and was extinguished off the jetties of Port Aransas, Texas.

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard is scheduled to conduct a formal public hearing beginning Monday at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston to consider evidence related to an incident that occurred aboard the Bouchard No. 255 tank barge.

An explosion, fire, and subsequent loss of life occurred aboard the Bouchard Barge No. 255 tank barge off the coast of Texas October 20, 2017.

The hearing is scheduled to convene at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston at 8 a.m. Monday and will continue to July 27, 2018. Coast Guard spokespeople will be available for media interviews at 7:30 a.m. Monday before the hearing begins. The hearing will also be streamed live each day at https://livestream.com/USCGinvestigations.

The hearing will focus on the condition of the barge prior to and at the time of the casualty, Bouchard Transportation organizational structure and culture, the regulatory compliance record of the Bouchard No. 255 tank barge and the towing vessel Buster Bouchard, and the Coast Guard inspections program.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is conducting its own investigation, will fully participate in the formal public hearing.

The Coast Guard has established an e-mail address for the public and interested parties to provide information, ask questions and make comments related to the ongoing investigation and scheduled hearing. This e-mail will be checked regularly and all correspondence will be acknowledged. The e-mail is Bouchard255@uscg.mil.

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