Sunken towboat, barge block traffic in Houston Ship Channel

635808470711871300 Barge Ax 01

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(HOUSTON) — Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Houston closed a small section of the upper ship channel to deep draft ship traffic at 5:58 a.m. Monday, about an hour after a tug and barge sank.

A 1,000-yard-long section of the ship channel, located about two miles east of the Interstate 610 bridge across from the Kinder Morgan terminals in Galena Park, remains open to barge traffic one at a time. There are currently two ships waiting to go farther into the port and two waiting to come out.

The Enterprise, a tug across the ship channel from the incident, called the vessel traffic service when they heard what they described as lines parting as the tug Annie Moon and attached barge sank where they were moored at about 5 a.m.

The Annie Moon is a small 25-foot harbor tug and the barge is about 200 feet long and was carrying sheets of 60- to 80-foot-long, 2-foot-wide and a half-inch-thick sheets of metal.

The Coast Guard initially restricted the area to one-way traffic upon notification of the incident, deployed a boat crew from Station Houston and diverted an Air Station Houston helicopter crew to assess the situation. The Sector Houston-Galveston Incident Management Team deployed personnel to the scene to assess the incident and oversee response operations.

The assessment team determined that approximately 20 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from the tug, which was carrying about 300 gallons. The area has been boomed off to contain and recover any additional spill while the vessels are being recovered.

Big John, the Big John Marine heavy lift cargo crane, is expected to be on scene at 1 p.m. to begin work lifting the sunken tug and barge. The Coast Guard will work with responders to ensure the barge and it's cargo are clear of the ship channel before being able to reopen the channel to all traffic.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.


(HOUSTON) — Ship traffic has been halted on a section of the Houston Ship Channel due to a sunken towboat and partially sunken barge, reported. The vessels are located near the Kinder Morgan dock in Galena Park. No one was aboard the towboat when it sank and no injuries were reported.

Click here to read the story.

By Professional Mariner Staff