Two Missing After Explosion on Crude Oil Barge Off Port Aransas, Texas

A barge on fire approximately three miles from Port Aransas, Texas, jetties Oct. 20, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Update 2: The Coast Guard said Sunday that it has suspended its search for the missing two crew members, contradicting an earlier report one crew member had died. 

Update: The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed that one person has died and another person was still missing after a fire on barge operated by Bouchard Transportation. 

The company issued the following statement about the accident. 

Bouchard Transportation reports that a fire occurred today aboard one of their barges at approximately 4:30 am local time near Aransas Pass, Texas.

For privacy purposes, we are not releasing any information about our crew and trust you respect this decision.

We have no information regarding pollution or the cause of the fire at this time.

Our tug which, was pushing the barge, had 6 crew members on board and we are working closely with the Coast Guard to ensure their safety.

All proper emergency notifications have been made and response resources have responded.

The incident is under investigation and Bouchard Transportation, as operator of the tug and barge, is working closely with the appropriate authorities. 

The Company will provide further information on this incident as it becomes available.

The tug involved is the Buster Bouchard

Earlier: The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for two missing crew members following an explosion and fire onboard a barge loaded with crude oil off Port Aransas, Texas on Friday.

A vessel with the Corpus Christi Fire Department was fighting to extinguish the fire.

The barge is located approximately three miles from the Port Aransas, Texas, jetties, according to the Coast Guard.

A Corpus Christi Fire Department vessel attempts to extinguish a fire onboard a barge approximately three miles from the Port Aransas, Texas, jetties Oct. 20, 2017. A Coast Guard Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin and HC-144 Ocean Sentry are searching for two missing crewmembers. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

A Coast Guard Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin and HC-144 Ocean Sentry are searching for two missing crewmembers. 

There were a total of eight crew members on board, according to reports.

The barge was carrying 140,000 barrels of crude oil to a refinery when the incident occurred, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.

The fire is believed to have started about 4:30 a.m. local time.

gCaptain has learned that the barge in question is the 158,000 barrel capacity B255, which was connected to the tug Buster Bouchard.

The articulated tug-barge (ATB) unit belongs to Bouchard Transportation, the United States’ largest independently-owned ocean-going petroleum barge company.

A safety zone has been established surrounding the vessel. There are reports of minor pollution in the water. 

Bouchard has not yet responded to gCaptain’s request for comment.