Barge Allision: Naphtha Spill Closes Houston Ship Channel

Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Houston video of the barge impact on the Houston Ship Channel. U.S. Coast Guard video.
Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Houston video of the barge impact on the Houston Ship Channel. U.S. Coast Guard video.

 

A section of the Houston Ship Channel was briefly shut Wednesday after the release of an estimated 23,000 gallons of naphtha (PTN) from a tank barge that had been involved in an allision. The spill also caused a shelter-in-place to be ordered for nearby facilities.

The Coast Guard says it was through a National Response Center report from someone on the ship channel at 11:46 a.m., reporting a smell in the area. Shortly after, a representative from Kirby Inland Marine reported that one of its barges was involved in an allision, impacting the cargo tank number one on the starboard side. The Chevron facility where the barge was docked issued a shelter in place for their facility and the Coast Guard shut down a 1.5 mile section of the upper ship channel from Light 152 to Greens Port Industrial Park.

The barge was carrying approximately 30,000 barrels of naphtha, or more than 1 million gallons, and the impacted tank had approximately 5,000 barrels, the Coast Guard said.

The video below from the Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Houston shows the allision:

The shelter-in-place was lifted and the Houston Ship Channel was reopened at 2:08 p.m. Wednesday.

The Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies and responders all worked together to ensure the safety of people in the area.

“Upon consultation with the NOAA support coordinator, their models showed that most of the product would evaporate in approximately three hours,” said Cmdr. Eric Carrero, the federal on-scene coordinator for the Coast Guard. “We are continuing to ensure the safety of personnel and the environment.”

An incident command post has been established in Channelview to coordinate response efforts. A number of agencies have been working together including the Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, Deer Park Emergency Operations Center, Galena Emergency Operations Center, Port of Houston, Kirby Inland Marine, The Response Group and T&T Salvage.