Two fuel barges near Mobile, Alabama went up in flames on Wednesday after multiple explosions occurred on the watercraft. According to the Houston Chronicle, three people are listed as critically injured in regards to the accident. The situation was so unstable with the barges that the fire officials decided to let the blaze continue into the night. The firefighters of Mobile as well as the U.S Coast Guard officials say that they responded to the accident at about 8:30 p.m. on the Mobile River.
The barges were travelling the river east of downtown when they were suddenly engulfed in a bright blaze. A third explosion happened when the Coast Guards and the firefighters were already handling the situation. Within the next three hours, there was another three explosions on the boats. One barge that was at a dock for cleaning has been given a one-mile nautical safety zone. Three workers on the barges were transported to the University of South Alabama Medical Center after suffering burn-related injuries. The workers are all employed by Oil Recovery Co.
A Carnival cruise ship, the Triumph, was evacuated when the explosions happened. Witnesses say that they could see the explosions from the cruise ship. This is the same cruise ship that was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico in February. Witnesses on the cruise ship way that they could smell the smoke in the air and some cruisers could even feel the heat of the blaze on their face.
The Coast Guard reports that the first blast took place in a ship channel near the George C. Wallace Tunnel. The cause of the explosions has not been determined as of late, but investigators say that they are ready to launch in and learn more about what happened on the ships as soon as the fires are out and the vessels are safe to board. Firefighters say that they are certain the fire won't spread to other industrial areas, and won't harm the Carnival Cruise ship that is docked on the other side of the shipyard.
The barges where the explosion took place were owned by Kirby Inland Marine and were empty at the time of the explosions. They were being cleaned by Oil Recovery Co. when the incident started, and the barges were both carrying liquid gasoline at the time. Carnival says that their ship, the Triumph, is docked in Mobile to undergo repairs following the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico a few months ago. Crew members are living on board the ship, which is why the vessel was occupied at the time of the barge explosions. If you were injured on a barge or in an explosion like this, then discuss your situation with an offshore injury attorney at Arnold & Itkin today!