Good Hope, LA Ship Crashes Into Butane Barges, Aug 1979


Good Hope, La. (AP) -- A Peruvian cargo ship slammed into three butane barges at a dock on the Mississippi River and burst into flames today. At least 29 persons were injured and the captain and pilot of the ship were reported missing, the Coast Guard said.
Officials identified the missing captain as CARLOS BAZO of Peru. The pilot, who presumably was aboard to guide the vessel along the turns of the river, was not identified. Officials said it was not known whether the two were trapped aboard the vessel. All other crewmen were accounted for.
Three Coast Guard helicopters hovered over the burning ship, and airlifted some of the crew from its deck. Others apparently jumped into the Mississippi River. Fireboats pumped water on the fire from the river and all available firetrucks sprayed from snorkles and hoses on the riverbank.
"The ship is wedged hard into the dock itself," said Joe Gibson, a Coast Guard spokesman. "It is burning and the dock is on fire. The three butane barges drifted downriver and they're on fire."
Gibson said exact figures on casualties were not known. He said there were no known dead.
The barges were moored on the river-side of the levee that protects the Good Hope refinery, Louisiana's largest independent oil processor, about 30 miles upriver from New Orleans. Next to the refinery is Shell Oil Co.'s even-larger Norco refinery.
It is not far from the crossing of the Luling-Destrehan ferry, where a tanker-ferry collision in 1976 claimed 78 lives. The Luling ferry was pressed into service to cart equipment to the scene.
The accident occurred after the cargo ship lost its steering as it headed downriver from Baton Rouge with general cargo, including a load of bulk soda ash, said Sidney Gaudet, traffic manager for the vessel's agent, Roberts Steamship Co. of New Orleans.
He identified the ship as the Inca Tupac Yupanqui, operating out of Callao, Peru. He said the entire crew was foreign.

Casa Grande Dispatch Arizona 1979-08-30