Barge removed, Galveston bridge reopens after allision

(GALVESTON, Texas) — The Unified Command, consisting of Martin Marine, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office, continues to respond to the incident that occurred Wednesday when a Martin Marine-owned barge struck the Pelican Island Bridge.

On Friday, T&T Group personnel successfully removed the barge from the bridge. The barge is secured, and no additional oil discharged during the barge’s removal.

The bridge is now open to the public for pedestrian and vehicle traffic with a reduced weight limit in accordance with an assessment by the Texas Department of Transportation and Galveston County Navigation District No. 1.

T&T Group personnel remove barge MMLP 321 from the Pelican Island Bridge near Galveston, Texas, on Friday. No additional oil discharged during the barge’s removal. U.S. Coast Guard/Texas General Land Office photo

After removing the barge, clearing debris on the deck and assessing the cargo tanks, responders estimated that approximately 20,000 gallons of vacuum gas oil discharged from the barge as a result of the incident. Following assessments, pollution response activities have concluded in the vicinity of Pelican Island. Swan Lake pollution response continues with crews removing oil and conducting washing of shoreside rocks. Pollution responders with E3 OMI have recovered approximately 22,000 gallons of oily water mixture from the area around Swan Lake.

To date, responders have recovered two deceased oiled brown pelicans and one deceased oiled laughing gull from the Swan Lake area. Additionally, responders have sighted up to nine oiled live birds, also in the vicinity of Swan Lake, but were unable to recover them.

To further protect wildlife, acoustic cannons were placed to provide an audible distraction to shore birds. The public is encouraged to contact the Wildlife Hotline at (832) 514-9663 to report any sightings of oiled wildlife.

The Department of State Health Services has not issued a fish consumption advisory or ban as the result of this spill. The impacted area is closed to the harvest of oysters. No shellfish water closures have been reported.

The Unified Command continues to prioritize the safety of the public and first responders, preserving and protecting the environment through effective wildlife deterrence, along with the restoration of the marine environment, transportation and infrastructure for the Pelican Island Bridge.

A claims line has been established at (281) 350-9996.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Professional Mariner Staff