Coast Guard opens public hearing on fatal Bouchard barge explosion

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

(NEW ORLEANS) — The Coast Guard on Monday opened a formal public hearing at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston to consider evidence related to an incident that occurred aboard the Bouchard No. 255 tank barge.

An explosion, fire, and subsequent loss of life occurred aboard the Bouchard barge off the coast of Texas on Oct. 20, 2017.

The hearing convened at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston and will continue until July 27. The address is 13411 Hillard Street, Houston, TX, 77034. The hearing will be streamed live each day at

The hearing will focus on the condition of the barge prior to and at the time of the casualty, Bouchard Transportation organizational structure and culture, the regulatory compliance record of the Bouchard No. 255 tank barge and the towing vessel Buster Bouchard, and the Coast Guard inspections program.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is conducting its own investigation, will fully participate in the formal public hearing.

The Coast Guard has established an e-mail address for the public and interested parties to provide information, ask questions and make comments related to the ongoing investigation and scheduled hearing. This e-mail will be checked regularly and all correspondence will be acknowledged. The e-mail is

Additional information about the hearing, to include the schedule, fact sheets and biographies, as well as any future news releases and documentation can be found here.

By Professional Mariner Staff