Saturday, 24 August, 2019

Tanker collided with oil barges, one capsized, major spill, Houston

The barges were loaded with the gasoline blend stock Reformate which is leaking into the water officials said The barges were loaded with the gasoline blend stock Reformate which is leaking into the water officials said
Sandra Phillips | 13 May, 2019, 20:03

Ship and barge traffic is resuming in the Houston Ship Channel as cleanup efforts continue in the aftermath of a spill that sent thousands of barrels of gasoline blending product into the channel, officials said Sunday.

Authorities said at a news conference Saturday that the hull of a 755-foot (230-meter) tanker punctured storage tanks on a tug boat that was pushing two barges along the Houston Ship Channel.

There were no reported injuries.

The liquid leaked into the bay is highly-flammable, toxic to marine life and could be deadly to anyone who ingests it. "The first priority of the unified command is public safety".

"Once we have those vessels secured, we will work with the pilots and we will evaluate whether we can reopen the ship channel". The barges carried some 25,000 barrels of the chemical each, but the amount spilled is unknown, according officials cited by local media. A Port Houston Fire Department fireboat plus oil spill response, air monitoring and salvage personnel are responding, the Coast Guard said.

Residents in cities near the accident site have reported a strong gasoline smell.

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In March, a fire at a petrochemical tank farm along the waterway burned for days, sending black smoke into the air and spilling fuel and solvent into the channel, disrupting ship traffic for weeks.

Nine U.S. oil refineries that process 12 percent of the national total operate along the ship channel.

"We know the air is coming this way".

The United States Coast Guard said it will investigate the crash, adding that an investigation is already underway into what led up to the incident.

The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health is monitoring the communities nearby. As of 2 p.m. local time on May 12, queues of 47 outbound and 48 inbound vessels were waiting to transit the channel.

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