Search for missing crew after vessel fire

dredger on fire Coast Guard crews respond to a dredger on fire in the Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel. Photo: USCG

A search is being carried out for missing crew members of a vessel that caught fire and sunk at a US port with two confirmed casualties.

The United States Coast Guard is searching for two crew members from the dredging vessel Waymon L Boyd following a fire on the Orion Marine Group-owned vessel which broke apart and sank in the Port of Corpus Christi ship channel in Texas on 21 August. The port confirmed a propane pipeline had ruptured and caught fire in a Facebook post on 21 August. The pipeline has been shut off.

Two of the crew members were rescued on 21 August. The bodies of another two crew members were recovered on 22 August.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the impacted crewmen and their families," said Sean Strawbridge, CEO of the Port of Corpus Christi, on 22 August. "A full investigation is underway; however, search and rescue efforts are our first priority. It will not be clear for some time the cause of this accident, and any definitive statements to the contrary would be premature. We will continue to provide updates as the situation progresses."

Approximately, 6,000 feet of absorbent boom has been placed around the vessel. Another 4,000 feet of absorbent boom is available if needed. Air quality testing by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is ongoing.

The Coast Guard issued a safety zone in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Inner Harbour, from the Inner Harbour Bridge to the Viola Turning Basin.

The Port Police Department Marine Unit is also on scene assisting the Coast Guard.

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