Coast Guard Investigating Collision on Houston Ship Channel

Damage to the cargo ship Genius Star VII can be seen after a barge carrying 840,000 gallons of fuel oil collided with it in the Houston Ship Channel, March 15, 2014. There were no pollution or injuries associated with the collision. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
Damage to the cargo ship Genius Star VII can be seen after a barge carrying 840,000 gallons of fuel oil collided with it in the Houston Ship Channel, March 15, 2014. There were no pollution or injuries associated with the collision. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the cause of a collision between a cargo ship and a barge loaded with 840,000 gallons of #6 fuel oil in the Houston Ship Channel, Friday, causing damage to both vessels.

Watchstanders with Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Texas City received a report at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Friday concerning a collision between a loaded barge and the 394-foot cargo ship, MV Genius Star VII, loaded with grain.

There has been no report of injuries or pollution from either vessel, although both vessels have reported damage but are in stable condition.

Photos of the cargo ship show a large gash on the port side just above the waterline.

Coast Guard marine inspectors and investigators from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Texas City get a closer look at the damage caused by a collision between this vessel, the cargo ship Genius Star VII and a barge carrying 840,000 gallons of fuel oil in the Houston Ship Channel, March 15, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard Photo
Coast Guard marine inspectors and investigators from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Texas City get a closer look at the damage caused by a collision between this vessel, the cargo ship Genius Star VII and a barge carrying 840,000 gallons of fuel oil in the Houston Ship Channel, March 15, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Marine inspectors and marine casualty investigators from Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston were dispatched to the barge to conduct a preliminary investigation and mitigate any risk to the environment. A response boat from Station Galveston was launched with a team of marine inspectors and marine casualty investigators from Marine Safety Unit Texas City to meet the Genius Star VII offshore and conduct a preliminary investigation, assess damage, and mitigate any risk to the environment or the mariners aboard the vessel.

“Due to the quick response of our marine safety professionals here at Texas City, a major environmental incident was avoided,” said Lt. Cmdr. Zeita Merchant, executive officer of Marine Safety Unit Texas City. “We were able to direct the vessels to safe locations to assess the overall damage and ensure the safety of the maritime community.”

The cause of the incident is under investigation.