A 47′ Settoon Towing towboat pushing a 154′ oil barge allided with a pipeline on Tuesday about 30 miles south of New Orleans near Lafitte, La., causing the pipeline and oil barge to explode. The barge, which carried 2,215 bbls. of crude, and the Shanon E. Settoon, which had 1,000 gals. of fuel aboard, burst into flames. Chevron owns the pipeline.
On Thursday, T&T Marine Salvage separated the barge from the towboat wreckage. On Friday, barge lightering operations were completed, with crude oil offloaded to a separate barge. At no time was any pollution observed coming from the barge, according to the Coast Guard. As the residual liquid petroleum gas in the pipeline dwindles, the flaring operations will continue.
The Coast Guard continues to maintain flight restrictions over the airspace near the Shanon E. below 5,000 feet within a radius of approximately one mile. Responders have deployed 11,100′ of boom around the tank barge.
ES&H, an oil spill response organization, initially laid 7,218′ of containment boom and 6,000′ of 18″ containment boom and used a fleet of eight vessels and one Marco skimmer in response to the incident. All crew members were able to exit the tug, but the captain reportedly suffered severe burns and was transferred to a burn center in Baton Rouge, La.
The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.