Barge explosions rock Mobile

APRIL 25, 2013 — Mobile Bay has been rocked by a series of explosions on empty compressed natural gas barges undergoing cleaning at an Oil Recovery Co. of Alabama facility on the Mobile River's east bank.

Coast Guard Sector Mobile watchstanders received the initial notification at 8:40 p.m. reporting the barge explosion between the George Wallace Tunnel and the Bankhead Tunnel in Mobile Bay. A second explosion was reported at 9:10 p.m.

Local media report that by 2.00 a.m. there had been seven blasts and that the two barges belong to Kirby Inland Marine.

The explosions caused the evacuation of personnel from the cruise ship Carnival Triumph which is undergoing repair at the BAE Ship Repair yard on the opposite side of the river. Workers from the Austal USA shipyard were also evacuated,

Three burn-related injuries have been reported.

A one nautical mile safety zone has been established around the explosion site.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.