Texas Beach Cleanup Underway After Barge Fire
The U.S. Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office and Bouchard Transportation representatives continue beach cleanup operations after an oil discharge from a barge three miles off the jetties of Port Aransas, Texas.
Oil barge B255 caught fire early on Friday while under tow by the ATB tug Buster Bouchard. The barge is carrying approximately 130,000 barrels of crude oil. Six of the eight crew members were rescued and did not suffer any serious injuries. A sea and air search was suspended on Sunday for the others. The Coast Guard, local responders and port services including the firefighting tugboat Signet Constellation brought the fire under control.
Beach cleanup operations have removed approximately 48 cubic yards of oily solids from the impacted shoreline on Mustang Island and North Padre Island. Six cleanup teams, over 120 people, are actively engaged in beach cleanup. Two wildlife response teams and one wildlife response vessel continue to assess any impacted wildlife between the Padre Island National Seashore and Port Aransas.
There has been no further discharge of oil from the barge and air overflights observed no oil remaining on the water. Response personnel are applying high expansion foam to the cargo tanks of the barge as a preventive measure to suppress vapors in the tanks. The barge remains safely in place with two response vessels on standby.