[ID] => 11034
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2019-05-17 09:04:34
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-05-17 08:04:34
[post_content] => In the early hours of 20 October 2017, an explosion and subsequent fire aboard the articulated tug and barge (ATB) unit Buster Bouchard/B No 255 off Port Aransas, Texas killed two crew and caused around 2,000 bbl of crude oil to be lost to the water or consumed in the fire. The incident caused damage to the barge of some $5m; it was scrapped after the accident.
At the time of the accident, the ATB was at anchor after loading 135,000 bbl crude oil at the NuStar Energy terminal in St James, Louisiana, and was preparing to depart on its voyage to Corpus Christi. The accident happened as two crew were on the bow lifting the anchor. An initial explosion was followed by two more, and fire broke out, badly damaging the barge. The two crew in the bow area were killed.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that the explosion involved vapours from the crude oil cargo that had collected in the forepeak of the barge. NTSB investigators found a number of cracks and holes in the bulkhead between the forepeak and the No 1 port cargo tank, primarily as a result of corrosion. This allowed oil cargo to leak into the forepeak area; the vapours could have been ignited by a number of sources.
NTSB’s investigation concludes that there were a series of failings, not only on the part of the barge’s operator, Bouchard Transportation. NTSB’s report notes that the US Coast Guard (USCG) inspectors who examined the barge prior to the accident failed to identify unsafe conditions, which allowed the vessel to continue to operate at an increased risk to the crews, the environment and port facilities. Further, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) failed to act on its surveys that also highlighted discrepancies regarding the substandard maintenance and hazardous conditions aboard the barge.
NTSB also found no indication of collaborative communications between ABS and USCG regarding deficiencies discovered by either organisation prior to the explosion. The lack of communication between ABS and USCG prevented a coordinated effort to evaluate the structural condition of the tank barge.
The probable root cause of the explosion, NTSB says, was the lack of effective maintenance and safety management by Bouchard Transportation. NTSB recommends that the company evaluates its safety management system (SMS) with an independent third party to identify the areas that allowed for the poor mechanical and structural condition of the barge and to revise its SMS to address deficiencies.
NTSB also notes that a number of other Bouchard barges were inspected subsequent to the October 2017 accident and similar structural failings were found in several cases.
NTSB also recommends that USCG and ABS establish joint policy and procedures to share information, including the results and findings from audits, surveys, inspections and other activities relating to vessel safety.
“The series of failures documented during this investigation highlight the need for effective safety management systems, proper vessel maintenance, and thorough regulatory examinations,” says Brian Curtis, NTSB’s director of marine safety. “If implemented, the recommendations issued as a result of this investigation will help to identify the failures that led to this accident and prevent similar casualties in the future.”
[post_title] => Marine: Know the risks
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => marine-know-risks
[post_modified] => 2019-05-17 09:04:34
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-17 08:04:34
[post_parent] => 0
[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=11034
[menu_order] => 0
[post_type] => post
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Marine: Know the risks
// By Peter Mackay on 17 May 2019
A fatal accident off Texas in 2017 has revealed a lack of effective communication between organisations with responsibilities for safety oversight