Tanker collision, gasoline spill closes portion of Houston Ship Channel

Tanker collision, gasoline spill closes portion of Houston Ship Channel

The U.S. Coast Guard says a 755-foot tanker collided with a tugboat pushing two barges near Bayport, Texas, on Friday afternoon, capsizing one of the barges and damaging another.

A safety zone also was set up that expanded shipping restrictions to light 66 and up to but not including the Bayport Ship Channel, officials said.

"Air monitoring is being conducted along the shoreline from Sylvan Beach to Kemah", the Coast Guard said. The barges, each carrying 25,000 barrels of a gasoline-refining product called reformate, were traveling the inbound lane.

The U.S. Coast Guard has set up an incident command and reported no injuries Friday night.

'Here is an estimate of where the gasoline-like odor from the barge collision may reach overnight (midnight to 6 am),' they said in the post. A Port Houston Fire Department fireboat plus oil spill response, air monitoring and salvage personnel are responding, the Coast Guard said. The SVFD is investigating, however, we are receiving preliminary reports that the smell may be a result of barge accident in the Houston Ship Channel. It's trying to determine how much reformate leaked into the channel.

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The liquid leaked into the bay is highly-flammable, toxic to marine life and could be deadly to anyone who ingests it.

The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health is monitoring nearby communities.

The National Weather Service said the smell of gas could carry several miles inland.

A plume of smoke rises from a petrochemical fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park, Texas, on March 18, 2019.

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