Fuel spills after tanker collides with barge in Houston Ship Channel

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(HOUSTON) — A Unified Command consisting of the U.S. Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, Port of Houston Authority, the Houston Fire Department and O’Brien’s Response Management are responding to an oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel, Saturday.
Watchstanders from Sector Houston-Galveston received a call at approximately 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, 2009, reporting that the 458-foot motor vessel Chemical Supplier had collided with Buffalo Barge #251 in the vicinity of Brady’s Island near the I-610 bridge. The motor vessel was headed inbound attempting to turn around in the ship channel when it struck the barge resulting in the rupturing of one of the vessel’s fuel tanks.

The tank vessel Chemical Supplier is reported to have a 2-foot by 4-foot gash in one of its fuel tanks, approximately 5-feet above the water line. Upon colliding with the barge, crewmembers on board the Chemical Supplier began transferring the #6 heavy fuel oil from the ruptured fuel tank to an empty fuel tank on board.

The following resources are currently being utilized during the response effort:

15,100 feet of containment boom (currently deployed)
11 workboats 6 roll off boxes (dumpsters)
6 vacuum tanks 2 helicopters
2 frac tanks (large storage tanks) 2 drum skimmers (used to extract oil from the water) Clean Channel oil spill recovery barge
The following response organizations are working with the Coast Guard in the oil response effort:
T&T Marine Salvage United States Environmental Services Clean Channel
Phoenix Environmental Oil Mop Garner Environmental
The source of the leak was secured at approximately 1:25 a.m. The fuel tank contained an estimated 22,500 gallons of fuel oil. At present, approximately 10,500 gallons of #6 heavy fuel oil has been reported to have spilled into the Houston Ship Channel.
“We immediately deployed boom to contain the spill, and boats and skimmers to recover the spilled oil. The Coast Guard is working diligently with its partner agencies to reduce environmental impact, ” said Capt. James Whitehead, deputy commander of Sector Houston-Galveston.

The Houston Ship Channel has been closed to all vessel traffic north of the I-610 bridge.

By Professional Mariner Staff