Ammonia barge fire in Gulf of Mexico

A barge carrying 2,500 tons of anhydrous ammonia caught fire about two miles west of Cat Island, Miss., Thursday afternoon, the Coast Guard reported.

At around 1:20 p.m. Coast Guard watchstanders at Mobile, Ala., were notified that the barge, being pushed by the 75’x30’, 2,000-hp tug Kathryn T. Devall, operated by Devall Towing & Boat Service LLC, Sulphur, La., was on fire. The crew was unable to put the fire out, and released the barge.

Along with the Coast Guard, the Gulfport, Miss., Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire. There were no reported injuries.

With the fire out, the barge was drifting in an easterly direction south of Pass Christian, Miss., and the Coast Guard was maintaining and 2.5-mile safety zone around the barge.

A 45’ response boat medium from the Gulfport Coast Guard station, an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala., and the 87’ cutter Brant were on scene to assess the situation.

In addition to the ammonia cargo, the barge carried an estimated 800 gals. of diesel fuel, and a 100’ sheen was reported coming from it. Air monitoring service ES&H, Houma, La., and T&T Marine Salvage, Galveston, Texas, were en route to the barge. The cause of the incident is under investigation, Coast Guard officials said.

 

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