HOUSTON — Federal, state and local agencies and responders are working to ensure public safety as they respond to a spill at Morgan’s Point on the Houston Ship Channel, after a collision between two ships at about 12:40 p.m. Monday.
The unified command has determined that the Barbours Cut Terminal will not open as normally scheduled at 7 a.m. Tuesday, as a precautionary measure. Air quality monitoring has determined that fumes are present, but they are below toxic levels. Residents in the affected areas are urged to monitor local emergency notification systems (Cities of Baytown, La Porte, Morgan’s Point), for information on local impacts and instruction. Air monitoring is currently taking place throughout the area and is being facilitated by local jurisdictions.
Residents and other individuals in the impacted areas may also call the public information hotline for the latest information on the spill. The hotline is 281-470-0000.
The Houston Ship Channel remains closed to all traffic from light 86 to the Fred Hartman Bridge. There are 26 ships waiting to come inbound to Houston and 14 waiting to leave. The Coast Guard is working to help ensure that the remaining product in the ship is safely secured in order to begin reopening the ship channel.
A safety zone has been established from the Fred Hartman Bridge to light 86 on the Houston Ship Channel and includes Goose Creek, Tabbs Bay, Cedar Bayou Channel and Barbours Cut.
At 12:41 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a report of the collision between the Carla Maersk, a 600-foot chemical tanker, and the Conti Peridot, a 623-foot bulk carrier, which resulted in a puncture to three of the Carla Maersk’s port tanks. The chemical tanker was carrying approximately 216,000 barrels of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether prior to the collision.
A collision between a chemical tanker and bulk carrier resulted in a spill of an unknown quantity of MTBE and prompted the Coast Guard Captain of the Port to close the Houston Ship Channel between light 86 and Morgan’s Point and initiate a shelter in place of the area surrounding Morgan’s Point and the Barbour’s Cut terminal.
An incident command post has been established at the City of La Porte Emergency Operations Center to further response efforts.
The cause of the collision is under investigation.