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At around 6pm Tuesday evening, a tug boat pushing a fully laden oil barge along the river near to Bayou Perot, just 48km south of New Orleans, ran into a pipeline carrying liquefied petroleum gas. The collision ruptured the pipeline causing an explosion and large fire. All four crew members of the 14 metre tug boat escaped the vessel, although the captain was rushed to Baton Rouge General Hospital having reportedly suffered second to third degree burns.
The Coast Guard was called out to deal with the incident, and have confirmed that none of the 92,000 gallons of oil in the barge have leaked into the waters.
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Commander Russ Bowen of the Coast Guard stated that, “we are aggressively responding with our state and local partners to mitigate the fire and prevent any potential impacts from oil that entered the water.”
The authorities were unable to control the blaze and so have decided to let it burn itself out before they will move in to inspect the site. A 19 mile section of the pipeline was isolated by the owner, Chevron, so that only the gas in that segment could burn up, eventually extinguishing the fire.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com