UPDATE: Monday, August 24 – 2:45 p.m.
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The search for the four crew members that began Friday, August 24, has ended as the United States Coast Guard was able to locate the missing crew.
“Coast Guard and salvage crews recovered the bodies of the two remaining crew members Monday after recovering a portion of the dredging vessel Waymon L Boyd from the Corpus Christi Ship Channel in Corpus Christi, Texas,” the US Coast Guard stated in a news release Monday afternoon.
The Coast Guard said all missing crew members have been found and the families have been notified.
“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,” Mark Stauffer, CEO for Orion Marine Group said. “Our heartfelt prayers and sympathy are extended to their families and friends, and we ask that everyone please respect their privacy as we all work to recover from this terrible incident.”
According to the Coast Guard, pollution response and salvage operations of the dredging vessel are ongoing. 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.
For the most recent Marine Safety Information Bulletins regarding the safety zone restrictions visit the Coast Guard’s Homeport site.
Approximately 1,600 gallons of diesel fuel has been removed from the water, according to the Coast Guard.
UPDATE: Sunday August 23 – 1:59 p.m.
“The restricted portion of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel will reopen when it is absolutely safe to do so. As the only major refining center on the U.S. Gulf Coast that currently is not expected to be within the anticipated area of impact from Tropical Storms Marco and Laura, efforts are also focused on recovery operations and reopening the affected portion of the Ship Channel so these critical refining centers can resume normal operations,” stated Port of Corpus Christi officials.
UPDATE: Saturday, August 22 – 9:35 p.m.
The Coast Guard announced they have suspended its search Saturday for two missing crew members from the dredging vessel Waymon L Boyd.
According to Coast Guard officials, the bodies of two of the missing crew members were recovered at approximately 2 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on Saturday morning, but two crew members remained missing.
“Our Coast Guard crews worked intently alongside state and local partners to locate the two crew members who remained missing, but unfortunately, we were unable to locate them,” said Capt. Edward Gaynor, commander, Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi.
“The decision to suspend a search is never easy and a lot of factors are considered before suspending a search. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of the missing crew members during this difficult time,” said Capt. Gaynor.
Involved in the search were:
- Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi
- Coast Guard Station Port Aransas
- Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Corpus Christi
- Coast Guard Cutter Chinook
- Coast Guard Cutter Manta
- Coast Guard Cutter Sturgeon
- Port Police Department Marine Units
- Harbormaster’s Office
- Security Command Center
UPDATE: Saturday, August 22 – 11:30 a.m.
Coast Guard representative, Corpus Christi Port Authority representative, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality representative, Orion representative, and Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales held a press conference regarding the search and response efforts of the dredging vessel Waymon L Boyd fire on Saturday, August 22 at 3 p.m.
At 8:12 a.m. Friday, Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi watchstanders received reports from witnesses describing a fire in the Port of Corpus Christi. A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued two injured crew members and four remained missing. The fire onboard the dredging vessel was extinguished at approximately 10 p.m. Friday after the vessel broke apart and sunk.
The United States Coast Guard has confirmed that the bodies of two missing crew members from the Waymon L. Boyd vessel were recovered Saturday morning.
Officials say the bodies of the crew members were recovered at approximately 2 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on August 22.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, two crew members remain missing and they are continuing the search in the Corpus Christi Bay waters.
“A Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and a Station Port Aransas 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew are currently on scene searching. The Port Police Department Marine Unit is also on scene assisting,” said officials.
Authorities say the fire onboard the dredging vessel, Waymon L. Boyd, was extinguished at approximately 10 p.m. Friday night, after the large vessel broke apart and sunk.
“Approximately, 6,000 feet of absorbent boom has been placed around the vessel. Another 4,000 feet of absorbent boom is available if needed. Air quality testing by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is ongoing,” stated officials.
The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of Corpus Christi closed the Inner Harbor from the Chemical Turning Basin to the Viola Turning Basin, officials say.
Coast Guard representative, Corpus Christi Port Authority representative, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality representative, Orion representative, and Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales are scheduled to hold a press conference regarding the search and response efforts of the dredging vessel Waymon L Boyd fire on Saturday, August 22 at 3 p.m.
“We greatly appreciate the efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard and other responders in their efforts to recover our missing crewmen,” said Mark Stauffer, CEO, Orion Marine Group. “Our focus is on supporting our employees and their families during this difficult time and our thoughts and prayers are with them and all the first responders. We continue to work alongside the U.S. Coast Guard, the Port of Corpus Christi Authority, TCEQ, and the other agencies to assist in the recovery of our personnel and the wider investigation into this incident.”
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the impacted crewmen and their families,” said Sean Strawbridge, CEO, Port of Corpus Christi.
2 Dead and 2 Missing After Pipeline Explosion in Corpus Christi
August 22, 2020
By Christina Morales, New York Times
A submerged pipeline that exploded and a fire on board a dredging vessel on Friday left two crew members dead and two others missing in Corpus Christi, Texas, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The bodies of two crew members from the vessel — named the Waymon L. Boyd from the Orion Marine Group — were recovered on Saturday morning.
Those killed were not publicly identified. Six people were hospitalized, with some being treated for burns, the authorities said.
Hours after a news conference on Saturday where officials pledged to keep looking for the two missing crew members, the Coast Guard announced that the search had been suspended.
Edward Gaynor, the captain of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi, said searchers tried with state and local authorities to find those missing but the effort was unsuccessful.
“The decision to suspend a search is never easy and a lot of factors are considered before suspending a search,” he said in a statement on Saturday night. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of the missing crew members during this difficult time.”
Officials were notified about a fire at the Port of Corpus Christi around 8 a.m. on Friday. Lt. Marina Lawrence of the Coast Guard said that although it was clear that a submerged pipeline exploded and that the fire and the pipeline explosion were related, the cause remained unclear and was under investigation.
Agencies offered conflicting accounts, however, about the explosion.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said on Friday that a barge struck a propane pipeline. The Port of Corpus Christi said it was a natural gas pipeline, the television station KSAT reported.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the explosion, Sean Strawbridge, the chief executive of the Port of Corpus Christi, said on Saturday afternoon.