Opening Statement: Board Meeting - Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Strike and Subsequent Explosion and Fire aboard Dredging Vessel Waymon Boyd

​​​Thank you for joining us and welcome to this virtual meeting of the National Transportation Safety Board. 

I’m Jennifer Homendy, and I’m honored to serve as Chair of the NTSB. Joining us today are my colleagues on the Board: Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg, Member Michael Graham, and Member Tom Chapman. 

Today, we meet in open session, as required by the Government in the Sunshine Act, to consider the Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Strike and Subsequent Explosion and Fire Aboard the Dredging Vessel Waymon Boyd on August 21, 2020. The pipeline strike, explosion, and fire occurred at the EPIC Marine Terminal in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Tragically, three crewmembers aboard the Waymon Boyd and one crewmember on an adjacent anchor barge died in the explosion and fire. Six crewmembers aboard the dredge were seriously injured, one of whom later died from his injuries.

Hablo un poco de español y quisiera enviarle un mensaje a las familias y amigos de los trabajadores de Orion Marine Group. En nombre de todos nosotros en NTSB, ofrezco mis más profundas condolencias a aquellos que se vieron afectados por esta trajedia. Hoy puede ser un día muy difícil para ustedes. Realmente lamentamos todo lo que están pasando. Nuestros corazones están con todos y cada uno de ustedes.

I only speak a little Spanish but it’s important for us, as a Board, to connect with all loved ones, to the best of our abilities. What I said was…On behalf of all of us at the NTSB I offer my deepest sympathies to those who were impacted by this tragedy. Today may be a very difficult day for you. We are truly sorry for all that you’re going through, and our hearts go out to each and every one of you.

Please know that all of those involved with this investigation have worked to ensure that everything that could be learned from this event was uncovered. 

Our goal today is to ensure that the lessons learned in this tragedy, and the actions that can be taken to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, are captured in our report and safety recommendations. 

To that end, each Board Member has studied the draft report and met individually with the investigative team. But today’s board meeting is the first time that we’ve gathered as a Board to discuss the report. 

Today, staff will present the pertinent facts and analysis and summarize what they found. After each presentation, we on the Board will discuss the key safety issues brought to light during the investigation, issue by issue, and then staff will propose the findings, probable cause, and safety recommendations for Board consideration.

The public docket for this investigation was released on October 13, 2021, and contains nearly 2,800 pages of additional relevant material and is available on our website at www.ntsb.gov. The final report will also be available on our website in just a few weeks, once any amendments voted upon today are incorporated and the report is finalized for release.

Before I invite each of my colleagues on the Board to introduce themselves, I’d like to take a moment to thank the United States Coast Guard and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for their work on this investigation and for our continued partnership to improve marine and pipeline safety. We’ve worked together on many investigations. Your role in those is critical and I look forward to continuing to work together to save lives. 

Now let’s turn to the introductions: 

Vice Chairman Landsberg 

Member Graham 

Member Chapman 

Thank you very much. 

I’ll now ask Deputy Managing Director for Investigations Brian Curtis to introduce our colleagues who will be participating in today’s meeting. Good morning, Mr. Curtis.