Missing Waymon L Boyd crew found dead

Coast Guard crews respond to a dredge on fire in the Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel, Aug. 21, 2020. A Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was launched to the scene, hoisted two injured crewmembers and transferred them to Corpus Christi Medical Center - Bay Area. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
USCG crew respond to a dredger on fire in the Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel, which occurred on 21 August 2020. Credit: US Coast Guard

The two remaining crew members of the dredging vessel Waymon L Boyd have been found dead in the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, United States. The bodies were found in the afternoon, local time, on Monday, 24 August 2020, as part of the salvage operations for a part of the dredging vessel.

The crew had been missing following an explosion caused by the dredging vessel that reportedly hit a pipeline on 21 August, according to USA Today.

The fire on board the Waymon L Boyd, owned by Orion Marine Group, was extinguished that evening after the vessel broke apart and sunk. Two crew members were rescued via helicopter on the same day. The first two bodies of the missing crew members were recovered on 22 August.

The official rescue works had been suspended by the US Coast Guard (USCG) on 22 August.

Approximately 1.8 km of absorbent boom has been placed around the vessel.

The National Transportation Board has started an investigation into the cause of the accident. CEO of the Port of Corpus Christi, Sean Strawbridge, said at a press conference on Sunday that “until the full investigation is complete, speculation of the cause is premature. We will make updates as and when they come available”.

When asked about pipeline safety at the same press conference, Marshall DeLuca, vice-president of corporate business development at Orion Marine Group, said there were visible aids to show the location of the pipeline in the port during dredging operations as per regulations.

In January of this year, the Council for Dredging and Marine Construction Safety (CDMCS) released Pipeline Incident Prevention, a recommended best-practice guide for safe dredging near underwater gas and hazardous liquid pipelines located in US Army Corps of Engineers federal navigation channels. This completed a milestone project for the dredging and pipeline industries following incidents in the past.

The Port of Corpus Christi is one of the largest crude oil and refinery hubs in Texas.