Coast Guard responds with unified command to oil discharge in Port Aransas, Texas

The Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, and Bouchard Transportation representatives continue to respond to an oil discharge from a barge that caught fire and was extinguished on Friday three miles off the jetties of Port Aransas, Texas. Response efforts continue to minimize impact to the environment and the maritime community, which has enabled the Coast Guard to reopen the impacted ship channels.

The Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, and Bouchard Transportation representatives continue to respond to an oil discharge from a barge that caught fire and was extinguished on Friday three miles off the jetties of Port Aransas, Texas.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, and Bouchard Transportation representatives continued to respond Sunday to an oil discharge from a barge that caught fire and was extinguished on Friday three miles off the jetties of Port Aransas, Texas.

Response efforts continue to minimize impact to the environment and the maritime community, which has enabled the Coast Guard to reopen the impacted ship channels.

Discharge from the barge cargo tanks appears to have stopped following the removal of 2,500 barrels of oil-water mix from the barge through lightering operations. Lightering is currently suspended due to weather, but will resume with improvement in sea conditions. Containment boom remains in place around the vessel, though sheening from the barge and containment boom is present. Coast Guard air overflights found no oil in the vicinity of the Entrance and Jetty channels.

The Coast Guard has reopened the Entrance Channel to inbound and outbound traffic. The port is now fully open with the exception of the restrictions outlined in marine safety information broadcast 16-17 regarding Hurricane Harvey.

Deflection and protection boom remain in place inside the channel as a precaution against any environmental impact and a 1,000-yard safety zone remains in effect around the barge.

Skimming boats have responded to the discharge, including the 210-foot Southern Responder.

Discharged oil has made shoreline impact on Mustang Island and North Padre Island. For public safety, it is imperative to stay away from the oil and to not touch or handle it. Three beach cleanup crews have been deployed and are actively cleaning the impacted shoreline. Crews recovered 34 cubic yards of oil, sand, and debris mixture from the impacted beaches thus far. Air monitoring teams are in place onshore and on the water to ensure safe air quality for responders and the public. Three additional teams will join beach cleanup operations on Monday.

Two wildlife response teams have been deployed between the Padre Island National Seashore and Port Aransas. They are actively engaged in assessing any impacted wildlife.

“The Unified Command continues to aggressively work on all aspects of this incident,” said Capt. Tony Hahn, the sector commander of Coast Guard Sector/Air Corpus Christi.

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