Tugboat collides with ship, grounds near Corpus Christi

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating a collision between a tugboat and a tanker that the tug was assisting near a refinery in Ingleside, Texas. 

The 6,770-hp tugboat Mark E. Kuebler collided with the Saudi Arabia-flagged tanker Nisalah at about 1600 on Jan. 22. The tugboat then left the channel and grounded near the South Texas Gateway oil terminal. 

“The Kuebler was in the process of trying to make up to the Nisalah, and as they were in the process of making up, it was reported that they collided stern-to-stern,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Alejandro Rivera, a spokesman for Coast Guard Public Affairs Detachment Houston. 

No one was injured and there was no pollution, the Coast Guard said. 

Details about the grounding were not available. According to Rivera, they are part of the ongoing investigation that limits what the service can share publicly. 

Mark E. Kuebler sustained damage to its mast and its hull. The tug took on water through hull fractures at the stern. “The vessel was reportedly refloated through patching and dewatering and it was refloated on Jan. 28,” Rivera said.

It is not clear if the 1,092-by-197-foot Nisalah sustained any damage. As of Feb. 2, it remained moored in Ingleside. 

Mark E. Kuebler was delivered in 2018 by Gulf Island Fabrication and has worked on the Texas coast ever since. Attempts to reach tugboat operator G&H Towing for comment were not successful.