USCG issues Marine Safety Alert concerning wood pellet fires

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The US Coast Guard has issued a safety alert to mariners, warning them about the dangers associated with fires caused by wood pellets. This alert comes after two seperate incidents where unmanned and uninspected hopper barges loaded with wood pellets caught fire while awaiting transport at a Mississippi River fleeting facility. Both fires resulted in significant damage, costing approximately $355,000 each, including total loss of cargo and extensive damage to the vessels. The cause of these fires was determined to be spontaneous combustion, a phenomenon that is not necessarily common but has been observed before.

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