Unified command responding to collision on Houston Ship Channel

HOUSTON — May 10, 2019 – A unified command has been established to respond to a collision on the Houston Ship Channel at Light 71-74 between a 755- foot tanker and a tug pushing two barges near Bayport, Texas, last Friday. The unified command consists of the Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office and Kirby Inland Marine.

Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders received a report that the tanker Genesis River and the tug Voyager collided. The tug was transporting two barges loaded with the gasoline blend stock Reformate.

An Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter aircrew and a Station Houston 29-foot Response Boat-Small boat crew were launched to assess the situation.

A Port Houston Fire Department fireboat plus oil spill response, air monitoring and salvage personnel are responding.

One barge has capsized and one is reported damaged.

An estimated 25,000 barrels of gasoline blend stock were loaded on each barge. An unknown amount of product has been released from the damaged barge.

Air monitoring is being conducted along the shoreline from Sylvan Beach to Kemah. The first priority of the unified command is public safety. If any readings above actionable levels are detected, advisories will be provided to local emergency operations centers.

The Houston Ship Channel is closed from Light 61-75.

There are no reported injuries at the time.

Congressman Babin’s Statement on Houston Ship Channel Collision

U.S. Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36) released the following statement in response to the gas leak that occurred after a collision on the Houston Ship Channel last Friday afternoon.

“I am glad to see that first responders, Port of Houston officials and the Coast Guard have been able to bring this situation under control and remove the immediate health and safety dangers it posed, and I am confident they will continue to do so as the final clean up and removal operations begin,” said Babin. “Once this matter is fully resolved, and a full investigation with the involved parties has been completed, I look forward to doing my part on the federal level to implement any necessary actions or new safeguards to prevent a similar accident from happening again.

“The Houston Ship Channel generates billions of dollars in economic activity, supports thousands of good paying jobs, and is the main conduit for the energy supply that powers Texas, America and the world. Business and government have a duty to keep it running the in the safest and most efficient manner possible, and we will emerge from this even better prepared and able to do so.”