Pushboat catches fire near Port Arthur

PORT ARTHUR, Texas – Marquette Transportation’s canal pushboat Joanne Marie caught fire around midnight Tuesday morning while docked along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway here, near the West Port Arthur Bridge.

“It pretty well burned throughout the morning,” said Port Arthur Fire Department Chief Larry Richard in an interview with WorkBoat. “Our crews didn’t go on scene until about 9 a.m. that morning. There was still 20,000 gallons of diesel in the fuel tanks, which was keeping the fire going. So we foamed it and let it cool off, and put the rest of the spot fires out.”

Four crewmembers were evacuated to an area hospital, but Marquette reports that all four are now in good condition.

The 65’x24’ Joanne Marie is a 1,250-hp pushboat built in 1979. Its condition is still being evaluated, Marquette said.

The Port Arthur Fire Department responded to the fire with its search-and-rescue vessel Marine 1, a 27’ SeaArk. “The tugboat had a portable pump,” Chief Richard said, “so we used that and our foam.”

Marquette has 56 vessels in its Gulf-inland fleet, of which the Joanne is a part. The company also operates 50 vessel in its river fleet, and another 11 in its offshore fleet.