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Houston Ship Channel reopens to vessel traffic following tanker collision

13 May 2019

"League City & Galveston Co are monitoring air quality after a ship collided with 2 barges in Houston Ship Channel, releasing thousands of barrels of gasoline product into the water".

A tug pushing two barges collided with an oil tanker in the Houston Ship Channel, causing one barge to capsize and the other is damaged, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement. It is incredibly flammable, both in liquid and gas form and is toxic to marine animals. "Air monitoring results and details on the actionable levels being used by the Unified Command to evaluate real-time air monitoring data are provided in the Community Air Sampling and Analysis Plan, available at Bayport Response", officials with Unified Command stated.

"Once we have those vessels secured, we will work with the pilots and we will evaluate whether we can reopen the ship channel".

The Coast Guard says there are no known injuries, but the barge is leaking. Each barge carried some 25,000 barrels of reformate.

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Officials said crews have deployed roughly 3,600 feet of boom to prevent the material from spreading farther into the water.

As of 8 p.m. CT, the shipping channel was closed from Light 61 to Light 75, KPRC reported.

The Coast Guard hasn't revealed the cause of the collision.

One barge capsized and the other was split open by the impact, spilling its cargo into the waterway and blanketing the region around the channel with a strong chemical odor.

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Residents in Seabrook are reporting smells of petroleum coming from the Bay.

Officials say the tested samples of Reformate don't pose a risk to local residents at this point and the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health is now monitoring nearby communities.

There were 44 vessels waiting lined up to enter the ship channel and 37 vessels waiting to leave on Sunday morning, according to the Houston Pilots association.

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Houston Ship Channel reopens to vessel traffic following tanker collision