Towing vessel Safety Runner tied up on the Mobile River next to two Kirby barges at the Oil Recovery Company Gas Freeing Terminal, ORC, unaware that the barges were being cleaned of residual diesel. Shortly afterwards the engines aboard Safety Runner began racing and could not be shut down, there was a fire which spread to the to the barges, resulting in explosions.
Three people sustained serious burn injuries. The total damage to the vessel and barge was estimated at $5.7 million.
Poor operations manuals and uncertified personnel played a key role in the incident.