The US Coast Guard will open a formal public hearing today, July 16th, to consider evidence relating to the explosion and fire aboard Bouchard No 255 tank barge, resulting in the deaths of two people, off the coast of Port Aransas, Texas, on October 20th 2017.
The barge was said to have been carrying 140,000 barrels of crude oil to a refinery when the incident occurred. The articulated tug-barge (ATB) unit belonged to US-based Bouchard Transportation
The hearing is scheduled continue through to July 27th, and 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 tank barge that caught fire and towing vessel Buster Bouchard, as well as looking at the USCG inspections program.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is conducting its own investigation into the incident. It will participate fully in the formal public hearing.