Coast Guard Responding to Ike Related Pollution Incidents

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

U.S. Coast Guard units operating in the Houston - Galveston area of responsibility have as of 4 p.m. Tuesday processed 51 reports of pollution and repaired or replaced 40 percent of critical aids to navigation damaged or missing in the wake of Hurricane Ike.Of the 51 pollution reports, 15 incidents require active cleanup, 14 require passive action and 22 require no further action by the Coast Guard. 

The reports cover a range of incidents including the discharge of petroleum products from storage tanks that have been damaged and/or are submerged in flood waters, the discharge of fuel from submerged machinery and sunken or damaged vessels in marinas, and natural gas leaks.  Among the reports are the following incidents:

  • A pipeline in , leaking natural gas from a valve currently under six feet of water.
  • A report of an oil sheen in , , with a strong smell of petroleum that extends from to .
  • A tank, bearing a placard indicating it may contain a toxic and/or corrosive material, that had floated onto a dock and requires removal.
  • A report of a 1-mile long, heavy sheen, with a diesel smell near Hackberry, La.
  • A report of diesel fuel leaking from two storage tanks in Harris County, Texas.
  • A report of an unknown amount of oil released from a four-inch pipeline at Umbrella Point in
  • A 2,640-foot by 30-foot, light silver sheen coming from a toppled natural gas production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, East Cameron block 272. The sheen is reportedly coming from oil products stored on the platform for running equipment.
  • A report of oil in the water coming from a pipeline or well head east of Baytown Marina, Harris County, Texas.
  • The Coast Guard is also investigating reports of 21 missing or damaged oil and gas platforms in the .

The Coast Guard Marine Transportation System Recovery Unit in reported 15 cargo containers were in the waters of Greens Bayou and 20 cargo containers were in the waters of Carpenters Bayou.  Some of the containers were marked with hazardous materials placards but no sheen or visible release of pollutants was observed.  All of the containers are secured and tug boats are preventing the containers from moving up channel.  Up to 80 more cargo containers are reported to be in flood waters.

More than 25 personnel and their specialized equipment from the Pacific, Gulf and Atlantic Strike Teams and the have been deployed to the area to help respond to and mitigate pollution incidents.

Port Conditions as of 3 p.m. Tuesday were as follows:

  • – Open
  • – Open with restrictions
  • – Open to shallow draft traffic
  • – Open to shallow draft traffic
  • Port Arthur/Beaumont, – Open to shallow draft traffic
  • – Open to shallow draft traffic
  • – Closed
  • – Open with a 12-foot draft restriction
  •  – Closed
  • Port Lavaca/Point Comfort,  – Closed
  •   – Open
  • The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is open from the and area westward to .
  • As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, there are 131 vessels awaiting access to the following ports:
  • : 4
  • : 7
  • :  16
  • :  4
  • :  7
  • :  86
  • : 7

The resumed tanker off loading and is also making deliveries to customers from its storage facilities.

Other resources and personnel deployed to support Hurricane Ike operations include 19 personnel from the Deployable Operations Group, personnel and equipment from Marine Safety and Security Teams New Orleans, , Sand Diego and   There are 16 Coast Guard cutters working in the Houston-Galveston area of responsibility with three more cutters enroute.

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