Environmental Protection

NTSB Investigating Houston Ship Channel Collision

An undetermined amount of bunker fuel oil spilled after a bulk cargo vessel collided with a barge under tow March 22.

The NTSB is sending investigators to the scene of a ship collision and oil spill that occurred in the Houston Ship Channel on March 22. A bulk cargo vessel collided with a barge under tow, and an undetermined amount of bunker fuel oil spilled into Galveston Bay as a result. Responders moved approximately 90,000 feet of boom along the Texas City dike for deployment to contain the spill, the city of Galveston reported.

The city's March 23 news release said 24 vessels were either on scene or prepared to participate in recovering spilled oil. "The primary concern remains the safety of responders and the protection of the environment. To ensure the safety of response workers in the area, and to prevent the spread of oil into other areas of the channel and Galveston Bay, a safety zone has been established, which restricts vessel traffic in impacted waters. The Bolivar ferry remains closed with the exception of EMS transit," it stated

Kirby Inland Marine, which owns the damaged barge, is participating in the response, which involves the U.S. Coast Guard, the Texas General Land Office, the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and Texas Parks and Wildlife.

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