Gas Barges Explode on Mobile River [UPDATE]

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April 25, 2013

Screen grab from Fox10

A series of explosions rocked two gasoline barges in Mobile, Alabama late Wednesday. A twitter update from the Mobile Fire Department says that three blasts occurred on two barges on the east side of the Mobile River, followed by a fourth explosion. The MFD also said that three were injured in the blasts and taken to a nearby hospital.


The explosion and fire is believed to be [adjacent to] Austal shipyard. Local media reports have quoted a Coast Guard official as saying only one barge exploded and it remains on fire. The first explosion is said to have occurred at 8:30pm and the fourth at about 9:50.

gCaptain Forum Thread: Explosion in Mobile Shipyard

Fire officials let the fire burn overnight as the scene was too unstable. A 1-mile safety zone has been set up around the barges.

UPDATE 1:  Local Coast Guard units have told the press that the barges contain gasoline and were undergoing gas free operations at  Oil Recovery Company of Alabama‘s docks adjacent to Austal.

UPDATE 2: An update from the U.S. Coast Guard said that a total of seven explosions have been reported, and the fire has been put out. Three people were transported to USA Medical Center for treatment of burns. One person was listed in critical condition.

The unnamed gasoline barges involved in the incident is owned by Kirby Inland Marine. An earlier update from the Coast Guard said one of the barges was an empty compressed natural gas barge that was at the dock for cleaning.

An update by the Mobile Fire Department said the seventh explosion occurred at 2 am. The MFD added that the barges contained raw gasoline.

A HAZ MAT team has determined that no further hazards exist and an investigation is underway.

The Coast Guard is developing a salvage plan with T & T Salvage.

The nearby Carnival Triumph was evacuated following the explosions. The ship is being repaired at the BAE Systems yard.


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Dan Anderson/
Dan Anderson/
Dan Anderson/

Fox Video: Multiple explosions in fuel barge fire

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