Skip to Main Content

Two Missing Following Oil Barge Explosion and Fire Near Port Aransas, Texas

Two crewmembers aboard an oil-carrying barge remain missing today, following an explosion and fire off the southeast Texas coast near Port Aransas on Friday.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the captain of the tug vessel Buster Bouchard sent out a mayday about 4:35 a.m. on Friday, reporting that an attached barge was on fire and two crewmembers were unaccounted for.

Eight crewmembers were aboard the vessel when it exploded, but only six were able to safely escape the blaze.

The barge had been carrying around 133,000 gallons of crude oil.

Buster Bouchard Tug Vessel Pulling In Anchor When Barge Exploded

The tug was located about 3 miles from Port Aransas and pulling in its anchor when the barge exploded. The cause of the blast is still under investigation.

A Coast Guard Response Boat and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter were deployed to search for the missing crew, while the Port of Corpus Christi’s fireboat and other local assets responded to the fire.

The blaze was extinguished by Friday evening, though crews continued to monitor the vessel throughout the night for reignition.

The incident is being managed by a unified command consisting of the U.S. Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office and a representative of Bouchard Transportation, the vessel’s owner.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Crewmembers

By Saturday evening, the Coast Guard had suspended its search for the missing crew members, neither of whom have been identified.

“We want to convey our deepest condolences to the families of the two crewmembers,” Capt. Tony Hahn, sector commander of Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi, said in a statement. “Our crews performed an exhaustive search and will continue to remain vigilant and monitor the area closely.”

Oil Leaking from Barge Washed Up on Mustang Island

Oil leaking from the barge has washed up on Mustang Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico about 14 miles from the site of the explosion.

The Coast Guard has established a 1,000-yard safety zone around the vessel. Jetty channels and the entry to the Corpus Christi Ship Channel remain closed in order to prevent oil from making its way into the port.

About 2,000 feet of containment boom was deployed on Friday, and reinforced with another boom on Saturday. An additional 6,000 feet of containment boom have been put in place to protect areas deemed environmentally sensitive.

“Air monitoring has been completed by the state and confirmed to be no threat to the public,” the Coast Guard said.

Contact Our Undefeated Maritime Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation: Click Here or Call 1-888-603-3636

In addition to being undefeated at trial, our Maritime Injury Lawyers have recovered more than $1 billion for our clients, including hundreds of workers in Louisiana, Texas, and throughout the United States who were injured or killed as a result of offshore explosions and accidents.

Our attorneys will take the time to answer your questions and provide you with all of the information you need to determine the best course of action for you and your family.

All consultations are free and, since we represent all clients on a contingency-fee, you’ll owe nothing unless we win your case.

Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to submit a confidential email through our “Contact Us” form.