Pipeline Accident Report

Natural Gas Pipeline Rupture and Fire During Dredging

Tiger Pass, Louisiana
October 23, 1996

NTSB Number PAR-98/01/SUM
NTIS Number PB98-916501

Executive Summary

About 4:50 a.m. on October 23, 1996, in Tiger Pass, Louisiana, the crew of a Bean Horizon Corporation dredge dropped a stern spud into the bottom of the channel in preparation for dredging operations. The spud struck and ruptured a 12-inch-diameter submerged natural gas steel pipeline owned by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company. The pressurized natural gas released from the pipeline enveloped the stern of the dredge and an accompanying tug, then ignited, destroying the dredge and the tug. No fatalities resulted from the accident.

The safety issues discussed in this report are the adequacy of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company's practices and procedures for locating, marking, and maintaining markers for gas transmission pipelines through navigable waterways; the lack of Federal requirements for placing and maintaining permanent markers where gas and hazardous liquid pipelines cross navigable waterways; and the adequacy of Bean Horizon Corporation's vessel emergency and crew accounting procedures.

As a result of its investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board issued safety recommendations to the Research and Special Programs Administration, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, Bean Horizon Corporation, the Western Dredging Association, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of American, and the American Petroleum Institute.