Update: Texas City "Y" incident response; Port of Houston authorized limited marine movement
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has authorized limited marine traffic in the safety zone in the Port of Houston/Galveston for commercial ship traffic, Tuesday.
Cleanup operations are still ongoing; however ships are being prioritized for transit by the Port Coordination Team. The USCG said barges are allowed to transit through the Houston Ship Channel and on the Intracoastal Waterway, after assessment teams deemed the channel clear.
"The cleanup operations progress is to the point that there is minimal danger of contamination to the commercial maritime traffic and allowing limited transit during daylight hours," said Capt. Brian Penoyer, Captain of the Port for Houston/Galveston. "This is an important accomplishment for every person working this response."
"As a member of the Central Texas Coastal Area Committee, we're pleased to see the plans outlined and implemented from our Area Contingency Plan proven effective in protecting and minimizing the impact on our sensitive and complex system," said Rich Arnhart, Regional Director of the Texas General Land Office Oil Spill Prevention & Response Region 2.
"This afternoon's reopening of the ship channel is an important milestone and a testament to the coordination, hard work and rapid response of the Incident Command and the men and women working on the water under often difficult conditions," said Jim Guidry, the Executive Vice President for Vessel Operations with Kirby Inland Marine, LP. "But our work together is not done. Kirby Inland Marine remains committed to completing this important work and to limiting any impact on the environment and local economy."
A vessel decontamination plan has been formulated to assist vessels that may have been impacted by oil. The sites of the stations are Pelican Cut, Galveston and Bolivar. To schedule a vessel decontamination call (832)-244-1870.
The Galveston Bolivar ferry is now running and will be operating between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Experts from U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are responding with rehabilitation, husbandry and stabilization trailers staged along the Texas City Dike, Bolivar Peninsula and the Phoenix Pollution Control Facility.
There have been 18 birds confirmed captured and 10 deceased. The public is reminded to refrain from capturing any potentially affected wildlife and is urged to contact 1-(888)-384-2000 if oiled wildlife is observed. Reporting photos of wildlife can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is approximately 15.5 miles of nonconsecutive impacted shoreline.
Response personnel have collected approximately 164,892 gallons of oil-water mixture. They have also collected 852 bags of solid waste. A majority of the solid waste was collected from Big Reef, Pelican Island, East Beach and Texas City Dike. The waste products include oiled debris, oil sand mixture and snare boom.
To date, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports evaporation of 16,800 gallons and a natural dispersion rate of 1,680 gallons of spilled fuel oil.
More than 71,000 feet of containment boom have now been deployed on waters surrounding the incident site and along sensitive shorelines in the area. An additional 232,600 feet of boom has been staged for possible deployment and another 5,400 feet ordered.
Approximately 70 response vessels are actively working to skim and recover oil with more than 539 personnel actively on-scene and another 218 responding in the incident command post.
Changing currents, winds and weather conditions have necessitated response officials to further extend oil recovery plans into the Gulf of Mexico and south along Galveston Island.
Air monitoring continues throughout the general area, although readings have consistently shown no reason for health concerns.
For those interested in volunteering, a list is being developed: call (713)-435-1562.
The Coast Guard investigation into the incident is ongoing.
For claims, call (855)-276-1275.