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February 27th, 2010

Atchafalaya Channel Closed Off Post Dredge-Pipeline Accident

The Coast Guard is continuing investigations into a maritime accident that resulted in a pipeline rupture in the Atchafalaya Channel this week.

The accident that occurred on Wednesday involved a dredge owned by Weeks Marine Inc. The dredge, G.D. Morgan apparently struck a gas pipeline. The collision set off a fire, and some of the crewmembers suffered injuries.  The pipeline belonged to Contango Oil and Gas Company.  Investigators and pollution control experts were able to cordon off the area. The Coast Guard has cordoned off approximately one mile around the accident site as a safety zone while the pipeline repair goes on.

According to the Coast Guard, this was necessary to warn the public as well as vessels passing through the area, that diving operations to repair the damaged pipeline were going on, and to prevent any further incidents.  Vessels needing to cross this area will need permission from the Captain of the Port, Morgan City before they can do so. The channel meanwhile, will be closed off for a period of four hours. Backed up vessel traffic will be allowed to pass through after the channel is opened again for another four hours.

The workers who were injured here, were fortunate.  Any incident involving a gas pipeline can be catastrophic and result in explosions, fires and severe burns.   We will be following the Coast Guard investigation closely here.

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent inured victims of maritime accidents, including offshore and oilrig accidents, accidents on commercial fishing vessels and cruise lines, and towboat and dredge accidents around the country.

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