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Accident Report Detail

Marine Accident Brief: Pipeline Breach and Subsequent Fire aboard Cutter Suction Dredge Jonathon King Boyd and Towboat Bayou Chevron

Executive Summary

​On the evening of April 17, 2018, the cutter suction dredge Jonathon King Boyd punctured a submarine natural gas pipeline with a spud during dredging operations in Matagorda Bay, Texas. A gas plume ignited and engulfed the dredge and its accompanying towboat, the Bayou Chevron. All 10 crewmembers abandoned the vessels uninjured. Damage to the pipeline was estimated at $1.7 million. The Jonathon King Boyd and the Bayou Chevron were constructive total losses, valued at $5.5 million and $125,000 respectively.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the fire aboard the cutter suction dredge Jonathon King Boyd was RLB Contracting’s failure to inform the crew about utilities in the area due to ineffective oversight, which led to dropping a spud onto a buried submarine pipeline, causing natural gas to release and ignite.

Accident Location: Matagorda Bay , TX USA 28°27.54’N 96°23.02’W
Accident Date: 4/17/2018
Accident ID: DCA18FM021

Date Adopted: 7/16/2019
NTSB Number: MAB1919
NTIS Number:  

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