HOUSTON, May 12 (Reuters) – The Houston Ship Channel was reopened with restrictions to shipping on Sunday as emergency officials worked to clear the channel following a collision between a tanker and two barges containing gasoline.
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.
Salvage efforts were underway to right a capsized barge and remove a second barge that was severely damaged, the U.S. Coast Guard reported. No injuries were reported from the incident.
The ship channel was reopened to two-way traffic for vessels under tow, and to outboard traffic for all other ships as of 12:55 p.m. (1755 GMT) on Sunday, said Bayport Channel Collision Response, a group of federal, state and local officials overseeing the clean-up.
There were 44 vessels waiting lined up to enter the ship channel and 37 vessels waiting to leave on Sunday morning, according to the Houston Pilots association.
It was the second petrochemical spill in two months to affect traffic on the 53-mile (85-km) commercial waterway that connects Houston to the Gulf of Mexico. Nine U.S. oil refineries that process 12% of the national total operate along the ship channel.
The collision had halted all traffic between lights 61 and 75 on Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard had said.
(Reporting by Gary McWilliams, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)
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