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Crews try to contain oil spill in Galveston Bay

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by DwightHoward13, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. DwightHoward13

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    Crews try to contain oil spill in Galveston Bay
    KHOU.com 1:39 a.m. EDT March 23, 2014
    Galveston

    HOUSTON — A barge carrying nearly a million gallons of oil collided with a ship in the Houston Ship Channel near Texas City Saturday afternoon, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

    The watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Houston/Galveston received a call around 12:35 p.m. from the captain of the 585-foot bulk carrier Summer Wind, reporting a collision between the ship and a barge. The barge contained 924,000 gallons of fuel oil, towed by the motor vessel Miss Susan.

    Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Kristopher Kidd said the spill hadn't been contained as of 10 p.m., and that the collision was still being investigated.

    The Coast Guard didn't give an estimate of how much fuel had spilled into the bay, but there was a visible sheen of oil at the scene.

    Officials believe only one of the barge's tanks was breached, but that tank had a capacity of 168,000 gallons.

    "A large amount of that has been discharged," Kidd said. He said a plan was being developed to remove the remaining oil from the barge, but the removal had not begun.

    The barge was resting on the bottom of the channel, with part of it submerged. He said boom was being set up in the water to protect environmentally-sensitive areas and that people would be working through the night with infrared cameras to locate and skim the oil.

    Miss Susan was transiting from Texas City to Bolivar at the time of the collision. Kirby Inland Marine, owner of Miss Susan and the barges, activated its emergency response plan immediately and began working in a unified response with the Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office.

    Booms were brought in to try to contain the spill, which the Coast Guard said was reported at around 12:30 p.m. ET by the captain of the 585-foot ship, Summer Wind.

    A sheen of oil has been reported on the water, but the quantity of product released is unknown at this time. The six crew members of the Miss Susan are all accounted for and are in stable condition. Two people were taken to the hospital to be checked out after being exposed to Hydrogen Sulfide.

    Marine traffic in the Houston Ship Channel from the Intracoastal Waterway to lighter buoy 32 has been temporarily suspended for the safety of the responders.

    The Texas City Dike and all surrounding parks are closed until the area is considered safe. Officials are also monitoring air quality.

    Jim Suydam, spokesman for the General Land Office, described the type of oil the barge was carrying as "sticky, gooey, thick, tarry stuff."

    "That stuff is terrible to have to clean up," he said.

    Mild weather and calm water seemed to help containment efforts, but stormy weather was forecast for the area on Sunday. Suydam said almost every private cleanup outfit in the area was out there helping out under the coordination of the Coast Guard and General Land Office.

    Bruce Clawson, the director of the Texas City Homeland Security, told The Daily News in Galveston that the barge sank, but that there is no danger to the community, which is about 40 miles southeast of downtown Houston. Suydam said he could not confirm whether the barge sank.

    Tara Kilgore, an operations coordinator with Kirby Inland Marine, declined to comment Saturday.

    Richard Gibbons, the conservation director of the Houston Audubon Society, said there is very important shorebird habitat on both sides of the Houston ship channel.

    Audubon has the internationally-recognized Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary just to the east, which Gibbons said attracts 50,000 to 70,000 shorebirds to shallow mud flats that are perfect foraging habitat. He did not know how much oil had been spilled, but said authorities were aware of the sanctuaries and had practiced using containment booms in the past.

    "The timing really couldn't be much worse since we're approaching the peak shorebird migration season," Gibbons said.

    Monday marks the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill off the coast of Alaska. Suydam said that spill spurred the creation of the General Land Office's Oil Spill and Prevention Division, which is funded by a tax on imported oil that the state legislature passed after the Valdez spill. The division does extensive response planning including pre-positioned equipment along the Texas coast.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money...o-contain-oil-spill-in-galveston-bay/6759201/

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  2. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    The what, now?
     
  3. DwightHoward13

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    Good question. Bruce Clawson is Emergency Manager in Texas City; my sources on that are not great but probably still better than USA Today, lol.
     

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