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Houston Ship Channel Tankbarge: Incident Update

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

March 23, 2014

The partially submerged barge: Photo credit USCG

The partially submerged barge: Photo credit USCG

The Coast Guard informs that response efforts by the Unified Command to contain oil leaking from the partially submerged Kirby Marine tank barge continue Saturday overnight. Details are as follows:

Four skimming vessels remain on-scene to continue recovering spilled bunker fuel oil.  Officials with the unified command, who are overseeing the spill containment and recovery efforts, anticipate the ability to fully reactivate their efforts beginning at first light Sunday.

An additional 20 response vessels are staged and are prepared to resume operations early on Sunday.  Approximately 90,000 feet of boom have been staged along the Texas City dike for deployment in containment efforts.

The primary concern remains the safety of responders and the protection of the environment. To ensure the safety of response workers in the area, and to prevent the spread of oil into other areas of the channel and Galveston Bay, a safety zone has been established, which restricts vessel traffic in impacted waters. The Bolivar ferry remains closed with the exception of EMS transit.

Air monitoring continues to ensure the safety of workers and others in the area.

The incident response is being coordinated by a unified command, which consists of a wide variety of federal, state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations and the owners of the damaged barge, Kirby Inland Marine.  Coordinating agencies include the United States Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, and Galveston County Office of Emergency Management.  Other agencies participating in the response include U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Galveston City Office of Emergency Management, Texas City Office of Emergency Management, and the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health.

Wildlife Response Services, a Texas-based wildlife rehabilitation service has also been deployed to assist with any impacted birds or marine life.  Persons who observe any impacted wildlife are urged to call 888-384-2000.

A claims number has been established for persons who may have questions in regard to personal impact by the incident. The number is 855-276-1275.