Fire on asphalt barge leaves 2 injured

Two crewmen were injured after fire broke out aboard an asphalt barge off Matinicus Island, Maine.
The fire started in a deckhouse pump room on the Norman McLeod on Feb. 14 at about 2115, the Coast Guard said. The crewmen were burned when they opened the door to the pump room and found it ablaze.
The barge was being propelled by the Canadian tugboat Everlast. The vessels, operating as an articulated tug barge, were en route from New Brunswick to Wilmington, Del.
The men were able to secure ventilation to the space and successfully deployed the barge’s onboard fixed CO2 system, according to Coast Guard Commanders Robert Backhaus and Brian Downey of Sector Northern New England.
The crewmen – a chief engineer and oiler – were flown by helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland. They were treated for first- and third-degree burns.
The 136-foot, 6,000-horsepower Everlast and the 360-foot Norman McLeod are operated by Provmar Fuels of Hamilton, Ontario.
The tug crew placed a mayday call, and the Coast Guard responded by dispatching a 47-foot patrol boat from Rockland, Maine, and an H-60 helicopter from the Cape Cod air station. The helicopter was on scene at 2308 and the injured crewmen were airlifted and flown to the Maine Medical Center.
Coast Guard cutter Jefferson Island was also dispatched to the scene. Marine inspectors from the cutter inspected the barge. Once they determined that there was no risk of fire, they coordinated with the vessels’ owner and Transport Canada to move the barge to Portland for damage assessment and repairs.
Inspectors from the Portland Fire Department boarded the barge and used thermal imaging equipment to check the vessel for fire before it was moved to a wharf at the Portland Ocean Gateway pier for repairs.

Provmar Fuels official Adrian Mitterhuber would not comment on the cause of the fire.

By Professional Mariner Staff