Four Confirmed Dead in Corpus Christi Dredge Fire

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

August 24, 2020

Absorbent boom surrounds the dredge vessel Waymon L Boyd in the Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel, Saturday. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

Absorbent boom surrounds the dredge vessel Waymon L Boyd in the Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel, Saturday. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

The bodies of the final two crew members missing from a dredge that caught fire and sank in Corpus Christi, Texas were recovered on Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Four personnel working on the Orion Marine Group-owned dredger Waymon L Boyd went missing and six were hospitalized on Friday after the vessel caught fire in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. The bodies of the other two missing workers were recovered on Saturday, and the families of all four crew members have been notified, the Coast Guard said.

The last two bodies were located after recovering a portion of the dredging vessel that was found in the middle of the channel during diving operations Sunday.

“We can confirm that all four missing crewmen have been recovered,” said Mark Stauffer, CEO, Orion Marine Group. “We are devastated by the loss of four of our colleagues, each of whom has been a valuable part of the Orion team for many years. Our heartfelt prayers and sympathy are extended to their families and friends.”

An official investigation into the cause of incident is underway after local authorities said earlier that the fire was triggered by an explosion after the dredge struck a gas pipeline in the ship channel at around 8 a.m. on Friday.

"It will not be clear for some time the cause of this accident, and any definitive statements to the contrary would be premature," said Sean Strawbridge, CEO, Port of Corpus Christi.

Pollution response and operations to salvage the dredging vessel are ongoing. Approximately 1,600 gallons of diesel fuel has been removed from the water, the Coast Guard said.

The Captain of the Port has modified the safety zone in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to allow vessel traffic throughout the Inner Harbor with restrictions.

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