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.

The Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, and Bouchard Transportation representatives respond to an oil discharge in this file photo from October 2017.

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard is scheduled to conduct a formal public hearing July 16 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 onboard 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, July 16, 2018 at 8 a.m. and will continue to Friday, July 27, 2018.

The Coast Guard will release a detailed schedule for the hearing at the beginning of July.

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 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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