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Missing Crewmember’s Remains Found Following Oil Barge Explosion Off Port Aransas


The remains of a crewmember who went missing last Friday when a barge exploded off the coast of Port Aransas, Texas were found Monday night, after washing up on South Padre Island.

Border Patrol agents discovered the body of Dujour Vanterpool, 26, of Houston, around 11:30 p.m. The remains were found about six miles south of the Malaquite Pavilion in the Padre Island National Seashore

Vanterpool was positively identified on Tuesday through information and identifying marks provided by his family members.

He and one other crewmember disappeared on Friday, October 20, 2017, after the forward section of an oil barge owned by Bouchard Transportation exploded and caught fire shortly after 4:30 a.m.

The barge was being towed by the Buster Bouchard, which was pulling up anchor about 3 miles off the coast of Port Aransas when the explosion occurred.

The vessel had been carrying around 132,000 barrels of crude oil, some of which leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.

Six crew members were able to safely escape the burning barge.

Second Crewmember Remains Missing

One crewmember remains missing, and has been identified as Zachariah Jackson, 28, of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jackson began working for Bouchard Transportation in January 2016 and was named barge captain within a month of being hired.

As barge captain, he would have been positioned at the fore peak of the barge, where the explosion occurred.

In an interview with KRISTV, Jackson’s brother described him as intelligent, generous, and someone who took life by the horns.

“The way I would describe Zachariah Jackson, and I think the way that every friend that he has — an amazing person,” Morgan Jackson said. “He gave so much to people, and never asked for anything back.”

Barge Removed to Shore Facility as Cleanup Continues on Mustang and Padre Islands

A Unified Command consisting of the U.S. Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office and Bouchard Transportation continues to respond to the incident.

On Wednesday, the Coast Guard reported that the barge had been moved to a shore facility.

“Today a major milestone was achieved with the safe transit of the barge to a shore facility,” said Capt. Jason Smith, Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi deputy sector commander. “The progress achieved is a result of the hard work by Unified Command and many from the maritime community.”

A 32-person team deployed on Mustang Island has so far removed 59 cubic yards of oily solids. Two 40-person teams have recovered 14 cubic yards from Padre Island.

Bouchard Transportation Settled Claims Related to Buzzards Bay Oil Spill 1 Day Before Port Aransas Barge Explosion

Just one day before the Port Aransas explosion, Bouchard Transportation and its affiliates agreed to pay $13 million to settle outstanding federal and state natural resource damages claims related to the April 2003 Buzzards Bay Oil Spill.

That spill occurred after a Bouchard Transportation tank barge collided with a shoal, spilling some 98,000 gallons of oil into Buzzards Bay off the New England Coast.

The incident was an environmental disaster, affecting around 100 miles of coastline in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Bouchard had previously paid $6 million to resolve claims for injuries to shoreline and aquatic resources, coastal recreational uses, and piping plovers, bringing the total combined natural resource damages recovery to over $19 million.

The Buzzards Bay spill also resulted in an $11 million class action lawsuit settlement, as well as a $10 million fine to resolve criminal charges related to the incident.

Were You or a Loved One Injured in the Port Aransas Barge Explosion? Contact Our Undefeated Maritime Lawyers at 1-888-603-3636 or by Clicking Here.

Our Undefeated Maritime Lawyers continue to investigate this tragedy and will post additional updates as more information becomes available.

If you or a loved one were injured in the Port Aransas Barge Explosion and have questions about your legal rights, contact our firm at 1-888-603-3636 or  click here to send us a confidential email through our “Contact Form.”

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