Coast Guard Opens Houston Ship Channel

HOUSTON — The three mile portion of the 52-mile Houston Ship Channel that was closed due to an oil spill Friday opened at 12:45 p.m. today to vessel traffic.

The channel, which was closed between Old Manchester Dock Three and City Dock 27, is open to all daylight operations and limited night time barge operations.

The Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service is managing all vessel movement.

The Captain of the Port, Capt. Marcus Woodring, determined the oil is contained along the shoreline, making it safe to resume traffic flow through the affected area at a slow speed.

Responders will continue to work to recover the remaining oil in the area. The exact amount of oil recovered is unknown, but as of 2 p.m. 23,418 gallons of an oil and water mixture has been recovered.

The following resources are being used during the response effort:

  • 15,000 feet of containment boom
  • 25 workboats
  • 6 debris boxes
  • 4 vacuum tanks
  • 1 helicopter
  • 2 storage tanks
  • 5 oil skimmers
  • 191 personnel

The following response organizations are working with the Coast Guard in the oil response effort:

  • National Response Corporation
  • US Environmental Services
  • Phoenix Environmental
  • Oil Mop
  • Garner Environmental

The Coast Guard is conducting an investigation into the chain of events leading up to the incident.

The incident occurred Friday at 9 p.m. when the 458-foot motor vessel Chemical Supplier was attempting to turn around in the Houston Ship Channel near the I-610 bridge and struck a barge tied to a pier.

The Unified Command mitigating the oil spill includes: the U.S. Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, O’Briens Response Management, Houston Fire Department and MTI Network Oil spill responders. The Unified Command is located at the U.S. Coast Guard Sector in Galena Park.

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