Fog closed the Houston Ship Channel
on Monday morning, the Houston Pilots association
said. Pilots stopped boarding ships at 8 a.m. CST (9 a.m. EST/ 1400 GMT
), bringing traffic to a halt, and the fog had not dispersed some four hours later at midday, an official said. The closure of the channel had not yet resulted in a big backlog of ships waiting to enter or leave the channel, he said.
The Houston Ship Channel is a busy 54-mile (90 km) waterway lined with oil refineries and petrochemical plants that links Houston to Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. A U.S. Coast Guard official in New Orleans, another major Gulf Coast oil-refining and petrochemical center, said shipping in that area was not affected by fog on Monday. Earlier this month recurring fog led to long delays for vessels using the Houston Ship Channel, causing a backlog of almost 80 ships at one point. - (Reuters)