Coast Guard opens Houston Ship Channel

KATY, Texas – The Coast Guard Captain of the Port of Houston-Galveston has re-opened portions of the Houston Ship Channel to commercial traffic, with restrictions.

The following openings and restrictions are in effect:

The Houston Ship Channel is open at all times to ships with a draft of 16 feet or less, but will remain open for daylight transit only from the entrance of the Ship Channel to the Shell Oil and Chemical Facility in Deer Park, Texas, for ships with a draft of 38 feet or less. Traffic is open for daylight transit only from the Shell Oil Chemical Facility to the Turning Basin for ships with a draft of 30 feet or less.

The Port of Galvaston is open to maritime traffic with a draft of 16 feet or less, but will remain open during daylight transit only for ships with a draft of 30 feet or less.

Traffic is open in the Port of Texas City at all times to maritime traffic with a draft of 16 feet or less.

Mariners are advised that aids to navigation may be off station and should exercise the slowest speed and use caution when transiting through the area.

All facilities are recommended to complete their facility self assesment checklist before requesting a Coast Guard facility inspection.

Several local, state and federal agencies are continuing to survey all navigable waterways impacted by Hurricane Ike. All other waterway restrictions in the Houston-Galveston area remain in place until ongoing post-hurricane assessments for aids to navigation, pollution and navigational hazards are completed.

“Since the passing of Hurricane Ike, Coast Guard crewmembers have been working tirelessly with our maritime partners to restore essential waterways along the Gulf Coast. The number one goal has been to get waterways open for safe maritime operations,” said Capt. William Diehl, Captain of the Port Houston-Galveston.

The Coast Guard encourages all recreational boaters to stay off the waterways untill further notice. There are still many obstructions and submerged navigational hazards. The Coast Guard’s ability to communicate with mariners in distress is limited due to damage suffered after Hurricane Ike.

For Ship Channel information please visit the USCG Stormwatch website.

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