Video Shows Insane Tanker Fire That Led to Two Houston Pilots Being Awarded the IMO Bravery at Sea Award. On the morning of September 6, 2016, Houston harbor pilots Michael McGee and Michael Phillips found themselves surrounded by towering walls of flames after the tanker they were piloting, the MT Aframax River, lost propulsion and struck two mooring dolphins on the Houston Ship Channel. The allision punctured the tankers hull plating, causing the release of about 88,000 gallons of low-sulfur marine gas oil, which suddenly ignited in a massive fireball. Despite the danger, the pilots remained on the bridge and managed to maneuver the vessel away from facilities and other ships in the area while coordinating with first responders. Amazingly, they sustained only minor burns, the only injuries resulting from the fire.
For their efforts, Captain McGee and Phillips were awarded the International Maritime Organization’s Bravery at Sea Award, the IMO’s highest honor for bravery at sea, in recognition of their role in preventing a major disaster on one the nation’s busiest commercial waterways. While details of the accident have since been chronicled in a NTSB Marine Accident Brief and as well as other recounts of the event, a new video posted online last week gives us the best look yet at what exactly what the pilots, crew members, and responding tugboats were faced with that night.
The video was recorded by a security at the Intercontinental Terminals Company facility where the tanker was mooring Check it out: