Photo courtesy by U.S. Coast Guard

One person has died and another is still missing after a barge owned and operated by Bouchard Transportation exploded three miles off the coast of Port Aransas Friday morning.

The oil barge was being pulled by a tugboat, also owned by Bouchard, en route to a refinery in Corpus Christi and was carrying approximately 133,000 barrels of crude oil at the time it caught fire.

Six of the eight crew members on board were rescued. A search for the two remaining crew members was called off Sunday, with one pronounced dead and the other as still missing.

The explosion also sparked an oil leak and is currently being managed by containment booms to protect environmentally sensitive areas. The entrance and jetty channels leading to the Corpus Christi ship channel were also closed to prevent the spread of leaking oil and to facilitate cleanup. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

The workers and their families should consult an experienced maritime lawyer to make sure that important evidence is preserved and that the families and workers are included in the investigation of this tragic incident. It is clear that Bouchard will have its lawyers and claims representatives present for all proceedings.

Nationally recognized Maritime attorney, Matt Shaffer, represented the family of a worker killed in the explosion of a Bouchard barge in Staten Island, NY in 2004, and has successfully represented numerous Bouchard workers in other maritime injury matters. Mr. Shaffer is a Proctor in Admiralty and has been lead counsel for workers injured in the Deepwater Horizon and El Faro disasters. He has represented thousands of maritime workers nationwide and has collected hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients.