The 47-foot tug Shanon E. Settoon was pushing a 154-foot oil barge when it allided with a submerged pipeline 6 p.m., Tuesday. The Coast Guard has responded to the scene near Bayou Perot 30 miles south of New Orleans.
A worker at a local marina reported that the tug exploded shortly after it struck the pipeline. Its remnants and the barge are still on the water and fully engulfed by flames. Coast Guard officials say the barge was carrying an estimated 2215 barrels of light crude oil, while the tow had about 1000 gallons of diesel fuel when the fire started. The Coast Guard says the plan right now is to allow the fire to burn itself out, because the surrounding waters are too shallow to allow firefighting vessels to get close to it.
All crewmembers were able to exit the tug, but the captain reportedly suffered severe burns and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Three other crew members were on the boat as well and are accounted for, and at least one of them received minor injuries.
There have been reports of oil in the water. ES&H has been hired as the oil spill response organization.