Published: Mon, May 13, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Cleanup underway after ship collides with barges in Houston Ship Channel

Cleanup underway after ship collides with barges in Houston Ship Channel

About 9,000 gallons of gasoline spilled into the Houston Ship Channel near Bayport, Texas, following a collision on Friday between Genesis River, a 755-foot (230-m) tanker, and a Kirby Inland Marine tug boat towing two barges, each containing about 25,000 gallons of gasoline.

No injuries were reported.

Each of the two barges were carrying about 25,000 gallons of a gasoline blendstock called reformate, according to Bayport Channel Collision Response.

Reformate is colorless, flammable and toxic to touch, inhale or ingest.

Kevin Oditt said the agency is working to reopen the channel.

Officials did not say how much of the reformate leaked into the water but assured local residents that it poses no danger to them.

One among the barges capsized, while the replacement used to be severely damaged, constant with the Lope Guard.

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The waterway remains partially closed on Saturday.

Water quality testing is being done along the bay, the statement said.

The 52-mile long Houston Ship Channel connects the country's number one export region and the Americas' largest petrochemical manufacturing complex to domestic and foreign markets via the Gulf of Mexico.

The cause of the collision is being investigated.

"A gasoline smell does not necessarily mean there is a health hazard or harmful particles in the air", Galveston County Health District officials stated in a release Saturday.

"We know the air is coming this form".

"Over the past two months, communities along the Houston Ship Channel have experienced possibly the worst series of benzene exposures in an urban setting seen in the United States", Elena Craft, senior director, climate and health at the Environmental Defense Fund said in an email. As of 2 p.m. local time on May 12, queues of 47 outbound and 48 inbound vessels were waiting to transit the channel.

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