Oil spill responders established a Matagorda Bay Forward Branch in Port O’Connor, Texas, to coordinate protection of the environment of the Matagorda Bay area, as a portion of the oil spilled on Saturday in a ship-barge collision near Texas City, Texas, moves south along the Texas Coast.
A Unified Command including the U.S Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office and Kirby Inland Marine, the owner of the vessel from which the oil was spilled, began their response efforts today implementing aggressive plans intended to protect environmentally sensitive areas against impact from the oil, based on priorities already established in the Area Contingency Plan.
While a notable portion of the approximately 168,000 gallons of the marine fuel oil has been removed by responders in the Texas City-Galveston area, an area of floating oil approximately fifteen miles off Matagorda Island is expected to be pushing shoreward by the weather over the next 24 to 48 hours. Today’s response actions are focused on placing protective boom along the sensitive areas along the coast of Matagorda Island, including Sundown Island.
Approximately 150 response personnel, utilizing 11 response vessels, are actively working to deploy over 50,000 feet of protective boom today. In addition, responders currently have staged 40,000 feet of absorbent boom, with another 45,000 feet en route to Port O’Connor.
As access to Matagorda Island is by boat, members of the public are discouraged from accessing the island until the Unified Command announces that response operations are complete.
Wildlife Response Service, a Texas-based wildlife rehabilitation service, has also been deployed to assist in the event that birds or marine life are impacted by the oil. Persons who observe any impacted wildlife should not attempt to capture or handle them but are urged to call 888-384-2000. No reports of affected wildlife have been received.
A claims number has been established for persons who may have questions in regard to personal impact by the incident. The number is 855-276-1575.