| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free e-book! Corrosion Under Insulation. Sponsored by Thermion.

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

7 Blasts on AL Barges Injure 3

Friday, April 26, 2013

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

A spark during cleaning operations apparently triggered seven explosions that blew up two fuel barges and sent three people to the hospital this week in Mobile, AL, the Coast Guard said Thursday (April 25).

The Coast Guard was notified about 8:40 p.m. ET Wednesday (April 24) of the first explosion on a barge in the ship channel in Mobile Bay, AL. That blast ignited a second one aboard a neighboring barge, and at least five more explosions followed those, touching off fires that blazed through the night.

Fire authorities monitored the blazes, allowing them to burn off the barges' stores of raw gasoline until they burned down and were brought under control Thursday morning.

The explosions sounded like "planes above you dropping bombs," Alan Waugh, general manager of the nearby Fort Conde Inn, told WALA-TV.

Mobile explosion video
Tad Denson / Airwind Creative via Fox 10

Bystanders ignored the mayor's requests to clear the area, remaining to shoot photos and video.

"We were up on a second floor balcony, and the sky lit up in orange and yellow," he said.

The concussion from the blasts activated the air bags in one fire vehicle at the scene, officials said.

Injuries, Evacuation

Three workers who were preparing the barges for reloading were severely burned and taken to the University of South Alabama Medical Center, authorities said.

The Coast Guard listed one person in critical condition, but a hospital spokesman told several news outlets that all three victims were in critical condition. All of the crew members were believed to be accounted for.

The shipping channel, which was closed as part of a designated safety zone during the fire, was reopened Thursday.

The fire occurred between Austal USA’s 24-hour shipyard and BAE Systems’ facility on the river. Neither company suffered damage or injuries, and employees were allowed to go home.

The fires also forced the evacuation of about 500 crew members aboard the Carnival Triumph, which was moored across the Mobile River. The cruise ship was the same one that lost power in February and drifted in the Gulf of Mexico for days before being towed to port for repairs.

Mobile explosion

Firefighters allowed the blaze to burn off the barges' gasoline stores through the night.

No damage was reported to the nearby Bankhead or George C. Wallace tunnels or to area roadways.

Although the blasts rattled nearby homes, a number of locals defied a request by Mayor Sam Jones to clear the area, remaining to take pictures and video of the scene.

Spark Cited

Mobile Fire-Rescue and news outlets reported explosions aboard two barges, although the Coast Guard referred to just one barge. The agency could not be immediately reached Thursday for clarification.

Kirby Inland Marine
Kirby Corp.

At least one barge was owned by Kirby Marine Inland, the nation's largest tank barge operator.

A spokesman, Coast Guard Lt. Mike Clausen, told reporters that the cause appeared to be a spark from a cleaning crew. The source of the spark was not explained, and no other details were immediately available.

The Coast Guard said the barge was owned by Kirby Inland Marine, of Channelview, TX. Parent company Kirby Corp. is the largest tank barge operator in the United States, transporting petrochemicals and other bulk liquid products throughout the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, according to the company’s website.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Explosions; Fire; Health and safety; Oil and Gas; Shipyards; Tanks and vessels

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Desco Mfg. Co., Inc.

Steel Fabrication

• Shipyards
• Plate Fabrication
• Structural Steel
• Maintenance

DESCO Mfg.Co., Inc.

Clemco Industries Corp.
Powerful Protection in a Small Package

Mounts inside blast helmet, alerts operator to dangerous breathing-air condition by audible, visual, and vibratory alarms. Easily calibrated, battery operated.

Tarps manufacturing, Inc.
QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA —Available near you!

CLICK to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Tarps Manufacturing makes the highest-quality tarps right here in the USA — available nationwide.

Sika® Industrial Floor Coatings

Click to learn about floor and wall systems relied upon for performance, durability, easy maintenance and aesthetics across the every industry and environment.

Sherwin-Williams Oil & Gas App

Our coatings and linings expertise available 24/7, allowing you to explore the best Sherwin-Williams solutions for oil refineries, shale drilling sites, and offshore. Download today!

Jotun Paints Inc.
Jotachar JF750 - The Time Saving Solution

The only mesh free solution for jet fire scenarios. Jotachar saves installation time and material costs - the next generation of epoxy passive fire protection.

Detail Masters
Overspray Removal

We offer professional, turnkey service and unparalleled quality!
Our process can save hundreds— even thousands of dollars. It's fast, environmentally safe and 100% guaranteed.

Dehumidifiers, Sales and Consulting
How long can you hold a WHITE-METAL BLAST?

Click to learn how 30 DAYS is easy! Don Bechtol has over 40 years of experience utilizing DH for blasting/coating projects. Call today.

Modern Safety Techniques
Modern Safety Techniques

See our Low Temperature Catalyst for your CO removal needs. Help to provide your workers with safe, comfortable breathing air!

Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox® - One Step Lead Abatement

Sandblast additive delivered to jobsite pre-blended to eliminate hazardous abrasive wastes. Why mix, meter or apply at the job-site? Blast with ease and
Let your painters paint!

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2016, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail