Tugboat fire closes section of Houston Ship Channel

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

(HOUSTON) — The Coast Guard captain of the port closed the Houston Ship Channel with a safety zone near Interstate 610 from 12:15 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, as their crews and local fire departments responded to a tugboat engulfed in flames, moored at the LyondellBasell refinery about two miles east of Interstate 610. 

LyondellBasell called Vessel Traffic Service Houston-Galveston watch standers to report a boat on fire outside their facility at midnight. Sector Houston-Galveston watch standers launched a Station Houston 29-foot response boat crew to the scene to meet shoreside fire crews and the Port of Houston fireboat.

The safety zone was in place until it was clear for traffic to navigate through the area, from 12:15 a.m. until 2 a.m., between Simms Bayou and Light 162.

The tugboat, San Gabriel, was moored next to an empty sulfur barge when it caught fire and the crewmembers were able to evacuate safely.

By Professional Mariner Staff