NTSB: Poor planning led to deadly Texas pipeline blast

Dec 7, 2021, 7:55 PM | Updated: 8:06 pm

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — Inadequate communication, planning, and risk management by a dredge operator likely led to the cutting of a liquefied propane pipeline and an explosion that killed five people at a Texas port last year, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded Tuesday.

The explosion happened Aug. 21, 2020, in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel when the dredging vessel Waymon L Boyd’s rotating cutter head cut the 16-inch pipeline owned by Enterprise Products. That released a geyser of propane that quickly exploded, enveloping the Waymon L Boyd in flames.

Of the 18 crew members employed by the dredge owner Orion Marine Group, three aboard the Waymon L Boyd and one aboard an adjacent anchor barge were killed. Six other crew members aboard the dredge were injured, one of whom later died.

The Waymon L Boyd was a total loss valued at almost $9.5 million, while the explosion caused more than $2 million in damage to the Enterprise Products pipeline.

In a statement Tuesday, the NTSB said Orion’s inadequate planning meant the dredge operators did not realize how close they were to the pipeline. Dredging plans provided by Schneider Engineering and Consulting were deficient, the NTSB said. As a result, Orion provided information to Enterprise Products in a “call before you dig,” a process for pipeline owners to guide excavators and dredgers around their facilities, which was incomplete and inaccurate. Consequently, proper measures were not taken to protect the pipeline.

The agency recommended that the companies involved in the explosion implement or update policies and procedures for dredging near pipelines.

It also called for federal regulators and industry organizations “to develop additional guidance and training specific to pipeline protection for marine dredging projects and to establish tolerance zone guidance for marine construction and dredging projects near pipelines.”

In a statement, an Enterprise spokesman said the incident is the subject of ongoing litigation, and the firm would have no comment. Generally, though, “we share the NTSB’s objective in preventing similar incidents in the future.”

An Orion Marine Group statement said, “In cooperation with regulators, improvements in our safety program continue to be sought after and welcomed.”

Schneider Engineering and Consulting has not responded to a message from The Associated Press.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Smoke bellows from a chimney stack at BlueScope Steel's steelworks at Port Kembla, south of ...
Associated Press

Australia prioritizes reducing emissions and cheaper EVs

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s new government is putting climate change at the top of its legislative agenda when Parliament sits next month for the first time since the May 21 election, with bills to enshrine a cut in greenhouse gas emissions and make electric cars cheaper, a minister said on Wednesday. A bill will […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Northern California wildfire threatens 500 buildings

BRIDGEPORT, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire that erupted in Northern California forced evacuations as it threatened about 500 homes and other buildings Tuesday, authorities said. The Rices Fire erupted at around 2 p.m. near the Yuba River in Nevada County and had spread to more than 500 acres (202 hectares) by nightfall, said Unit Chief […]
24 hours ago
Rich Morris of Toadflax Nursery helps to plant marijuana seedlings at Homestead Farms and Ranch in ...
Associated Press

New York’s 1st legal marijuana crop sprouts under the sun

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s recreational marijuana market is beginning to sprout, literally, with thin-leafed plants stretching toward the sun in farms around the state. In a novel move, New York gave 203 hemp growers first shot at cultivating marijuana destined for legal sales, which could start by the end of the year. […]
24 hours ago
FILE - R. Kelly arrives at the Cook County Criminal Court Building, in Chicago, June 13, 2008. R&B ...
Associated Press

R. Kelly timeline: Shining star to convicted sex trafficker

R. Kelly’s musical accomplishments have been accompanied by a long history of allegations that he sexually abused women and children. Now the R&B singer could be put away behind bars for a quarter-century or more when he is sentenced Wednesday in a federal courtroom in New York City. A jury found Kelly guilty in September […]
24 hours ago
FILE - R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, Sept. 17, ...
Associated Press

R&B hitmaker R. Kelly due in court for sex abuse sentencing

NEW YORK (AP) — R& B star R. Kelly faces the possibility of a quarter century or more in prison when he is sentenced Wednesday in a federal sex trafficking case in New York. A jury found Kelly, 55, guilty of racketeering and other counts last year at a trial that was seen as a […]
24 hours ago
FILE - A protester waves Hong Kong British colony flag during continuing pro-democracy rallies in T...
Associated Press

Hong Kong in limbo 25 years after British handover to China

HONG KONG (AP) — When the British handed its colony Hong Kong to Beijing in 1997, it was promised 50 years of self-government and freedoms of assembly, speech and press that are not allowed Chinese on the Communist-ruled mainland. As the city of 7.4 million people marks 25 years under Beijing’s rule on Friday, those […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
NTSB: Poor planning led to deadly Texas pipeline blast