A tug boat pushing an oil barge hit a 19-mile-long gas pipeline in the Louisiana bayou, in shallow Bayou Perot near Lafitte, leaving five people injured. There was still liquid petroleum gas in the 19-mile pipeline (pipeline owner is Chevron) and officials were waiting for it to burn out. The barge was carrying about 92,000 gallons oil. This region of Louisiana is crisscrossed by pipelines. Wellheads are a common sight in the shallow waters of the bayou and bay shoreline. It is still unknown why the tug hit the pipeline.
The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating a fire on board a vessel in Lafitte. It happened just before 7 o’clock Tuesday evening about two miles from the C & M Marina. It started when a tug pushing an oil barge struck a liquefied natural gas pipeline in shallow Bayou Perot, where Lafourche and Jefferson parishes meet. The tug boat first caught fire, then the fire spread to the barge. All four people on board have been accounted for. Two of them are being treated for burns. The fire burned well into the night. The Coast Guard is still working to determine the cause. The barge remained intact and none of the oil appeared to be leaking. Smoke was still visible in New Orleans, 30 miles to the north, and officials say they don’t expect the fire sparked by Tuesday night’s crash to be out until Thursday or later.
A bit of History and other accidents in Bayou Perot
This area of the United States is along the northern reaches of Barataria Bay, which was heavily affected by oil from the BP spill in 2010. It is mostly small communities where people often make their living from the sea, either working in the oil and gas industry or as fishermen.
Bayou Perot was the scene of an explosion and fire on a specialized oil rig in December 2010 in which three men were injured. The explosion happened while the men were welding and there was no pollution. Another Settoon tug was involved in a February 2012 collision on the Mississippi River that resulted in less than 10,000 gallons of oil spilling into the river.