NTSB: Ineffective maintenance led to deadly 2017 barge blast

PORT ARANSAS, Texas (AP) — Federal investigators have concluded that a deadly 2017 barge blast in Port Aransas resulted from the lack of effective maintenance and safety management of the barge.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued its findings in a recent report on the Oct. 10, 2017, blast aboard the articulated tug and barge Buster Bouchard (boo-SHAHRD’) 3 miles (5 kilometers) off Port Aransas, Texas. The blast killed two crew members.

The board said the lack of maintenance resulted in crude oil cargo leaking through a corroded bulkhead into a void in a forward cabin, forming a vapor that ignited when the crew raised the anchor chain. The board also cited ineffective inspections and surveys by the U.S. Coast Guard and the American Bureau of Shipping.

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