Posted August 25, 2020
Explosion and Subsequent Sinking of Barge Alaganik
Accident Location: Whittier , AK USA Delong Dock, Canal Passage; 60°46.72’ N, 148°39.96’ W
Accident Date: 7/7/2019
Accident ID: DCA19FM042
Date Adopted: 8/6/2020
NTSB Number: MAB-20-31
On July 7, 2019, at 2339 local time, an explosion occurred on the barge Alaganik as it was moored port side to the end of the Delong Dock in Whittier, Alaska. The vessel was serving as a platform for pumping fish cargo ashore from fishing vessels and tenders that came alongside. It also provided diesel fuel and gasoline to the fishing vessels. No cargo operations were ongoing when the explosion occurred. Despite the efforts of shore-based responders to fight the ensuing fire, the vessel eventually sank in 60–80 feet of water. The single crewmember aboard the vessel died in the explosion. About 1,896 gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel stored on board the vessel were consumed by the fire or released into the environment. The vessel was a total loss at an estimated value of $300,000. Pier damage was estimated at $400,000.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the explosion on board the barge Alaganik was the ignition, from an undetermined source, of gasoline vapor from a fuel cargo tank, which became entrapped within the vessel’s port pontoon compartment.