Barge Collision Closes Waterway

Thursday, April 17, 2008

HOUSTON - The Coast Guard re-opened a ten-mile section of the Intracostal Waterway between mile markers 340 to 350 at 1 p.m. today.  Currently, restrictions are only in place between mile markers 343 and 344 where vessels are directed to maintain minimal safe speed and not pass or overtake other vessels.

Earlier this morning the Coast Guard closed a ten-mile section of the Intracoastal Waterway from mile marker 340 to 350 after a barge collision near the Bolivar Terminal.

A watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a call at 12:44 a.m. today from the captain of the tug Taylor Marie.  The captain reported the Kirby 22302, moored at the Bolivar Fleeting area, was struck by the lead barge being pushed by the Taylor Marie; both barges were damaged.

The Kirby 22302 sustained a softball sized hole on the top of a cargo tank and started to leak cyclohexane.  A minimal amount of cyclohexane was released out before the source was secured.

Cyclohexane is a colorless liquid with a sweet chloroform-like odor that is highly flammable.

The Coast Guard was assisted by the Harris County Fire Marshal's Hazardous Materials Response Team in conducting air monitoring testing in the area to ensure public safety.  There were no hazardous chemical readings noted and air monitoring is continuing while the stricken barge's cargo is offloaded into an undamaged barge.

The cause of the incident is under investigation by the Coast Guard.

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