USCG Lifts Matagorda Safety Zone, Response Ongoing
Oil spill responders from the Matagorda Incident Command Post in Port O’Connor, Texas, continue to implement their aggressive plans, Friday, intended to protect environmentally sensitive areas of the Matagorda Bay area against any impact from a portion of the oil spilled in Saturday’s ship-barge collision near Texas City, Texas.
Effective at 10 a.m. today, the U.S. Coast Guard has lifted the safety zone, which had been in effect for the Matagorda Ship Channel from the sea buoy to the intersection of the ship channel with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, permitting the resumption of normal maritime commerce in the waterway.
Mariners should remain well clear of protective booming that remains in place to protect environmentally sensitive areas of Matagorda Island and Matagorda Bay, including Sundown (Bird) Island and Saluria Bayou and Big Bayou along Pass Cavallo. Any damage by mariners to the protective booming structure will jeopardize effective response efforts, may cause damage to private and public property and the environment and subject the party causing the damage to prosecution under applicable law. Mariners should monitor Marine Safety Information Bulletins issued by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi for updated information regarding navigation in the affected area.
Members of the public are discouraged from accessing south Matagorda Island until the Unified Command announces that response operations are complete.
A wildlife rehabilitation facility has been established in Port O’Connor at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Coastal Fisheries Laboratory, 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. Two 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.