Market Overview

Houston Ship Channel Partially Closed After Chemical Spill

Houston Ship Channel Partially Closed After Chemical Spill

Dozens of cargo vessels are stuck waiting to enter and leave the Port of Houston while the port's ship channel remains partially closed in the aftermath of a major chemical spill.

On May 10 two barges were struck by the 755-foot chemical tanker Genesis River, capsizing one of the barges and causing an estimated 9,000 barrels of reformate, a gasoline blend stock, to leak from the second barge, which was also significantly damaged. No injuries were reported as a result of the collision, which occurred just south of the Bayport Container Terminal in upper Galveston Bay.

A unified command consisting of the U.S. Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, the port's fire department and Kirby Inland Marine, owner of the tugboat that was towing the barges, was established to respond to the accident. Thousands of feet of containment boom were deployed over the weekend to contain the spill.

"Salvage teams are working to begin implementing the salvage and recovery plan in the channel," Greg Beuerman, a spokesman for the response team, told FreightWaves on May 12.

The teams plan to first lighter-off reformate from the damaged barge until it can be safely removed from the waterway, Beuerman said. The second phase of the recovery effort will be to remove the capsized barge. "The big question is how long that will take, which we don't know yet," he said.

Limited one-way outbound traffic was restored in the channel as of 10:30 a.m. local time on May 12. At that time there were 42 vessels waiting to leave the channel and 42 vessels waiting in an inbound queue, Beuerman said.

The 52-mile long Houston Ship Channel connects the country' number one export region and the Americas' largest petrochemical manufacturing complex to domestic and foreign markets via the Gulf of Mexico. The Port of Houston handled over 200 million short tons of international cargo in 2018, according to the port.

A separate investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing.

The post Houston Ship Channel partially closed after chemical spill appeared first on FreightWaves.

Image sourced from Pixabay

Posted-In: Freight Freightwaves Houston Logistics shippingNews Markets General


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