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Corpus Christi Dredge Accident: Preliminary Report Released by NTSB

The National Transportation and Safety Board has released a preliminary report about last month’s deadly Corpus Christi dredge explosion. The incident killed 4 people, and 6 of the surviving 14 crewmembers needed to be airlifted to nearby burn units. Now, federal investigators are working to determine what caused the Corpus Christi dredging accident.

About the NTSB’s Investigation

The NTSB states that the Wayman L. Boyd, owned by Orion Marine Group, was carrying out dredging operations when it struck a submerged 16-inch liquid propane pipeline at approximately 8:05 a.m. on August 21. The vessel was operating adjacent to the EPIC Corpus Christi Marine Terminal in the Inner Harbor of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. After striking the pipeline, a geyser of gas and water ignited, consuming the vessel and nearby shoreline with fire.

The accident was severe enough for the U.S. Coast Guard to declare it a major marine casualty.

The report reveals that the damaged pipeline (TX219) was operated by Enterprise Products Operating, LLC. When an Enterprise Products pipeline controller noticed a low-pressure alarm, they closed valves on both sides of the ruptured pipeline. The NTSB estimates that about 6,000 barrels worth of propane were released before valves were closed.

An underwater inspection on August 24 determined that the pipeline showed mechanical damage and two wall breaches. Investigators have recovered the Waymond L. Boyd’s cutter dredge head and are transporting it to a secure location so it can be examined and tested by an NTSB laboratory. While it has already interviewed several surviving crewmembers and company officials, the NTSB says further interviews will be conducted.

Corpus Christi Dredge Accident Lawyers Representing Survivors

Corpus Christi dredge accident lawyers from Arnold & Itkin are representing a survivor of this preventable disaster. Our client was on the Waymon L. Boyd and was one of the workers who sustained severe burn injuries from the explosion and resulting fire.

While the NTSB has yet to determine fault for the accident, initial reports have indicated that the pipeline was not clearly marked. Without adequate warning, the crew of the Waymon L. Boyd had no way of knowing that tragic fate that awaited them on the morning of August 21. We assert that Orion Marine Products failed to survey the area for its dredging operations thoroughly and that Enterprise Products failed to warn the crew of the dredger about the pipeline’s presence. Had one of these companies been responsible, it's likely this accident wouldn’t have happened.

“This type of maritime disaster should never have happened,” said Attorney Kurt Arnold. “There’s no excuse for it. We are determined to discover the full truth of why this happened and ensure that the companies accept full responsibility for the severity of the consequences. The defendants need to do the right thing to take care of these workers and their families. We’re committed to making sure a disaster like this never happens again.”

If you’re suffering from this accident or one like it, our firm is standing by to help—call us now at (888) 493-1629 for a free and confidential consultation. We’re ready to help you discover your options and consider what steps you should take next.