The investigation into the deadly Corpus Christi explosion could take a year

An investigation into the cause of a fatal pipeline explosion in Corpus Christi is expected to take at least a year, US Coast Guard officials said.

Captain Edward Gaynor, commander of the Coast Guard Sector / Corpus Christi Air Station, informed Corpus Christi port commissioners Tuesday morning that the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are conducting an investigation into the explosion.

Emergency teams respond to a pipeline explosion near the Lantana and Up River Straits in Corpus Christi, Texas on Friday, August 21, 2020.

“An investigation of this magnitude typically takes well over a year,” said Gaynor. “It will take time to get all the facts together, and it is far too early to speculate about a cause at this point.”

At around 9 p.m. on August 21, the Waymon L. Boyd struck an underwater natural gas pipeline and caused an explosion. The fire from the explosion ignited the ship and spread from the pipeline to a nearby grain elevator, the lawsuits said.

Gaynor said the pipeline is owned by Enterprise Products Partners, LP. A lawsuit against Orion Marine Construction states that the pipeline was owned and operated by EPIC Crude Holdings.

Officials said Orion Marine was doing work in the port for a customer. Orion was not involved in an ongoing project to improve the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. Legal proceedings also state that dredging was carried out at EPIC’s request.

Four crew members of the ship were reported missing and their bodies were later found.

Coast Guard crews respond to a fire dredger in the ship channel of the port of Corpus Christi on August 21, 2020. A Corpus Christi MH-65 Sector / Air Station Dolphin helicopter crew was launched on site, picked up and relocated two injured crew members to Corpus Christi Medical Center - Bay Area.

Emergency teams helped eight people after the explosion. Six were taken to hospitals, four by the Corpus Christi Fire Department and two by the Coast Guard.

Gaynor said 10,000 gallons of water, diesel and hydraulic oil mixture were recovered. Another 4,800 gallons of hydrocarbons were also recovered.

The officers also removed 1,089 bags of containment debris and 36 bags of coastal litter.

Alexandria Rodriguez covers the breaking news and crime scene in South Texas. Support local news by reading our subscription options and specials at Caller.com/subscribe