Unified Command continues to respond to gas pipeline fire near Port O’Connor

The Coast Guard responds to a gas pipeline fire near Port O'Connor, Texas.

The Coast Guard responds to a gas pipeline fire near Port O’Connor, Texas.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Unified Command consisting of Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office and RLB Contracting Inc., continues to respond to a gas pipeline fire near Port O’Connor, Texas.

Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi watchstanders received a mayday Tuesday evening from the captain of the dredging barge Jonathon King Boyd, who reported the vessel was on fire after hitting a gas pipeline while conducting dredging operations. Genesis Energy owns the pipeline.

The fire onboard the dredging barge is reported to be extinguished and will be closely monitored for the potential of re-flash. Port Lavaca Fire Department and a fire-fighting barge are on scene to conduct fire fighting operations.

Horizon Environmental has placed containment boom around the Jonathon King Boyd as a precaution in case fuel or oil discharge.

A one-mile safety zone remains in effect around the dredge. The Intracoastal Waterway remains closed to traffic from mile marker 468 to mile marker 474 to include the Matagorda Ship Channel from the jetties to seven nautical miles inside the bay.

Natural gas continues to burn from the pipeline, with the pipeline’s pressure decreasing. The impacted pipeline is secured; the remaining gas is residual.

The 10 crewmembers aboard the Jonathan King Boyd were safely removed Tuesday evening by the crew of the good Samaritan vessel First State, who was on scene at the time of the fire.

“The safety of our response personnel, environmental protection, and opening up local waterway traffic, are amongst our highest priorities,” said Lt. j.g. Andrew Garcia, Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi incident commander. “We continue to work with our partner agencies and responsible party to contain any potential discharge of fuel in order to mitigate environmental impacts.”

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