HOUSTON The raging fire that broke out after a tug and barge hit a pipeline near Bayou Perot 30 miles south of New Orleans Wednesday has been reduced by about 30 percent in size, the U.S. Coast Guard said in its latest update.
"There are no reports of oil in the water. Visual imagery initially indicated potential pockets of crude oil, however, those areas have been determined to be particulate ash from the liquefied natural gas burn off," the Coast Guard said.
About 2,200 barrels of crude oil remain on board the barge and has not been compromised, it said.
The tug pushing the barge that carried 2,215 barrels of crude oil struck the Chevron Corp pipeline in shallow water early evening on Tuesday, the Coast Guard had said earlier. The tug carried 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
Chevron shut the line and isolated the damaged section, but officials waited for the fire to burn out.
"There is a one mile by 75-foot-wide sheen reported in the vicinity of the tug and barge," the Coast Guard said. "The pipeline was shut in Wednesday evening and the fire will diminish as the product diminishes."
Responders had deployed a containment boom to capture any oil leaking from the barge or tug, the Coast Guard said.
The accident happened about 30 miles south of New Orleans in a bayou west of the Mississippi River. Chevron said the line connects a gas plant in Venice, Louisiana, with a pump station in Paradis.
Chevron also said that apart from the pipeline shutdown, the accident had no impact on the company's operations, as LPG was being re-routed around the damaged line.
All four crew members of the tug were accounted for, though the captain reportedly sustained serious burns.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.
(Reporting by Kristen Hays in Houston, and NR Sethuraman and Shruti Chaturvedi in Bangalore; Editing by David Cowell, Bob Burgdorfer and Sofina Mirza-Reid)