A tugboat that was cruising through a coastal Louisiana bayou hit a gas pipeline on Tuesday, causing an explosion and fire. Now, the tug boat and the barge have been consumed in flames. While the blaze has died down since last night, authorities say that it is far from extinguished at this time. The smoke from the accident was visible 30 miles away in New Orleans, and the authorities say that the fire will probably burn itself out be Thursday night or possibly Friday.
The accident happened when a tug pushing an oil barge hit a pipeline in the shallow Bayou Perot. Four workers aboard the rug boat were injured, and one worker is reported to still be in critical condition. While gas from the pipeline was rumored to have leaked out onto the bayou, the oil barge has allegedly kept hold of its contents and prevented a damaging and environmentally unsafe oil spill.
After investigation, authorities determined that the supposed oil spill was really just ash that had fallen on the water from the fire. Oil skimmers have been dispatched to the scene just in case there is a spill, and booms have been employed around the crash site. The If the oil was released, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are not certain where the oil would travel to when it was released, but they determined that it would follow currents.
Chevron owns the damaged pipeline, and they have cut the flow of gas to the pip in hopes to oust the fire. Still, there were 19 miles of the line affected by the accident and they are expected to burn for some time. Chevron has already started injecting nitrogen gas into the pipeline in order to help extinguish the fire. Also, the authorities are trying to keep the barge filled with oil cool so that a fire will not erupt there. They also want to minimize the possibility of an oil release from the barge. According to documents, the barge has about 92,000 gallons of oil inside.
Thankfully, the area near the accident is not densely populated, so no evacuations were ordered. Investigators still haven't been able to determine why the tug boat hit the pipeline in the first place, but the shallow water by the line is only about 2 or 3 feet deep. If you have been injured in an offshore injury accident like this one, then you have the right to seek compensation. As well, if you are harmed by the environmental or disastrous effects of an oil spill like this one, this would be another reason to seek compensation. Arnold & Itkin are offshore injury attorneys that are ready and willing to assist you in your case! Contact them immediately for more information or to get started.