The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(HOUSTON) — The Coast Guard re-opened the Houston Ship Channel Wednesday afternoon.
The Houston Ship Channel was opened to limited vessel movements at approximately 1:30 a.m., and at approximately 7 a.m., the channel was opened to Houston Pilot Association piloted vessel transits including outbound ship transits, outbound tow transits, and inbound ship transits. The Houston Ship Channel remained closed to inbound tow transits until approximately 11:30 a.m. when it was opened to all vessel traffic. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service, which manages vessel movement within the Houston Ship Channel region to ensure efficiency and safety, is working with local stakeholders to clear the backlog of 45 inbound ships and 19 outbound ships.
CenterPoint Energy has disconnected all 14 power lines and is in the process of cutting the remaining legs on the structure. After the structure is separated from its base, Big John Marine will use the large crane on-scene to safely remove the structure.
Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston was notified at 6 a.m. Sunday that a barge had struck high-line electrical structure 197 in Baytown. The tower supports power lines that cross the Houston Ship Channel.
AEP, the responsible party for this incident, owns the towing vessel Safety Quest. The Safety Quest was pushing three barges loaded with scrap metal when it allided with the Baytown high-line number 197.
Drug and alcohol testing has been administered on the crew of the Safety Quest.