Houston Ship Channel was reopened after bunker fuel spill

Houston Ship Channel was reopened after the fire and bunker fuel spill from the crude oil tanker Aframax River. The vessel was empty during the accident and fire was extinguished, but in the breached fuel tanks had more than 2,500 tons of low sulfur diesel, most of which leaked into the channel. Large part from the spilled fuel burned into the fire, leaving only a light sheen on the water at daybreak and small pockets of recoverable fuel near the shoreline. The local authorities and Coast Guard incident management dispatched teams, who were overseeing cleanup and response operations by OMI Environmental Solutions.

“The crude oil tanker leaving dock just past midnight after unloading its cargo hit something, possibly a sewer pipe”, said US Coast Guard representatives in front of the local media. “It leaked as much as 90,000 gallons of light fuel oil that caught fire, burning for about 45 minutes and sending flames up to 200 feet into the air. The fuel, a low-sulfur marine gas oil, is comparable to diesel gasoline”, added the officials.

Traffic was closed for a mile southwest of the Battleship Texas State Historic site, between the Cargill facility and the Cemex dock. During the whole day, the emergency teams were cleaning and collecting the spilled oil, but later during the day the canal was opened and traffic was restarted.

The spill may have some environmental impacts, but they will be limited. If the tanker had spilled some type of oil, this might cause really more serious disaster. Fortunately during the accident there were no injured people.