Ammonia barge adrift after fire in Gulf


The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(NEW ORLEANS) — The Coast Guard is responding to an adrift barge that caught on fire approximately two miles west of Cat Island, Miss., on Thursday.

Gulfport Fire Department reports that it has extinguished the fire.

Watch standers at Coast Guard Sector Mobile, Ala., received a report at approximately 1:20 p.m. that a barge being pushed by the tug vessel Kathryn T. Devall caught fire with a reported 2,500 tons of anhydrous ammonia and 800 gallons of diesel fuel.

“Safety of the public and first responders is our No. 1 priority as we respond to this incident,” said Capt. Malcolm McLellan, commander of Sector Mobile.

The crew of the tug was unable to extinguish the fire and released the barge from the tug. There are no reported injuries.

The barge is currently drifting in an eastern direction and is approximately 4.5 miles south of Pass Christian, Miss.

The Coast Guard has established a 2.5-mile safety zone surrounding the barge.

Sector Mobile watch standers directed the launch of a 45-foot response boat-medium crew from Coast Guard Station Gulfport, an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala., and Coast Guard cutter Brant from Gulfport to assess the situation.

ES&H, an air monitoring service, and T&T Marine, a salvage company, are currently en route to the barge.

There is a reported 100-foot sheen coming from the barge.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

By Professional Mariner Staff