Wednesday, March 11, 2015



LA PORTE, Texas – The Houston Ship Channel was reopened Thursday morning, after responders completed initial salvage plans on a damaged chemical tanker and successfully moved the vessel to Barbour's Cut turning basin. The Carla Maersk incurred significant damage following a collision earlier in the week between it the and the Conti Peridot. Responders finished removing the liquid cargo from the ship’s two breached tanks early Thursday morning. The partial removal of cargo, Me...thyl Tertiary Butyl Ether, was a necessary step before the ship could be moved to a safe harbor. Plans also included checking the structural integrity of the vessel before moving it to another location. High-density foam was used to suppress flammable vapors from the damaged tanks on the Carla Maersk. Extensive air monitoring around the ship showed no sign of vapors seeping from the vessel. Responders continue to conduct air and water tests, which show no public health or environmental concerns. The Conti Peridot was moved Tuesday to the Port Authority’s Turning Basin terminal. "Safety of persons, environment and property continue to remain our highest priorities," said Capt. Brian Penoyer, Captain of the Port and Commander of Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston. "We will continue to keep you informed as efforts progress; and I would like to thank everyone involved with this Unified Command’s response." The cause of the collision remains under investigation. For claims call: 1-888-334-6446 For media inquiries call: 281-946-9437 Additional information is available at: <>Photos and video can be accessed at: <>

Dozens of ships delayed as section of Houston Ship Channel still closed: Pilots


in Port News 11/03/2015


Houston port 04.jpg More than 60 ships have been delayed since a section of the Houston Ship Channel was closed Monday following a vessel collision that caused MTBE to spill into the waterway, a Houston Pilots dispatcher said Tuesday.


The dispatcher said 35 inbound and 30 outbound vessels were in the queue late Tuesday afternoon.


The ship channel is closed to all traffic from the Fred Hartman Bridge to ship channel light 86 while salvage operations continue.


US Coast Guard Capt. Brian Penoyer said it was not yet possible to estimate when the section would reopen.


“I’d like to give an estimate that would be helpful, but we have to proceed step by step with the response,” he said. “Candidly, it has to be that way until we secure the vapor from the MTBE.”


About 12:40 pm CDT (1740 GMT) Monday, the chemical tanker Carla Maersk and dry bulker Conti Peridot collided just south of Morgan’s Point during a heavy fog. The impact pierced two cargo tanks on the Carla Maersk and MTBE began leaking into the ship channel.


Penoyer said there was little sign of MTBE on the water’s surface.


“With the single exception of a trace release from the damaged area of the hull on the Carla Maersk, we were unable to locate any evidence of sheen on the water,” he said.


The ship was carrying 216,000 barrels of the gasoline additive, but Penoyer said the entire cargo was not spilled as the crew was able to transfer MTBE out of the affected tanks and into other tanks on board.


The suspension of ship movements in the Houston Ship Channel impacts the delivery and loading schedules of crude oil and petroleum and petrochemical products. The 52-mile ship channel provides access from the Gulf of Mexico through Galveston Bay to various ports in Houston and other cities in the area that have many industrial facilities, including refineries and petrochemical plants. Source: Platts






DATE: March 11, 2015 2:38:11 PM CDT


Seafood Safety Notice


The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will issue “Fish and Shellfish Consumption Advisories” as needed during the Morgan’s Point Collision.


DSHS recommends that fishermen need to exercise common sense: do not eat fish or shellfish that has a chemical odor (similar to turpentine).


Q: Is the seafood safe to eat?


A: Recreationally caught fish and shellfish that do not smell like chemicals should be safe to eat. Persons who have a shellfish allergy should always avoid eating shrimp, crab, lobster, and oysters.


Q: Is fishing closed because of the MTBE release?


A: The DSHS has not closed any areas to the harvesting of fish, shrimp or crabs. People should always check the status of oyster harvesting areas prior to harvest. Further, MTBE does not build up in fish tissue, so there is not expected to be long-term effect on seafood in the area. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says studies have shown the chemical evaporates relatively quickly from surface water.


Q: Is seafood in restaurants and stores affected by the MTBE release?


A: There is no indication that seafood in the marketplace has been impacted by the MTBE release.


NOTE: For further inquires on Seafood Safety contact DSHS at: 512-776-7400 or the Seafood and Aquatic Life Group at: 512-834-6757.


For more information contact:


Morgan's Point Response JIC (281) 946-9437




Houston Ship Channel spill cleanup to take several days


By: Juan A. Lozano


Posted: 8:27 PM, Mar 10, 2015 Tag: state


LA PORTE — Efforts to clean up one of the nation's busiest seaports after a collision between two vessels on the Houston Ship Channel spilled a flammable chemical were expected to take at least several days, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Tuesday.


About a 4-mile to 8-mile stretch of the ship channel remained closed as crews worked to deal with the gasoline additive that spilled after two 600-foot ships collided on Monday in foggy conditions.


U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Brian Penoyer said the immediate goal is ensuring that there is no danger from the spilled additive — methyl tert-butyl ether or MTBE — as it is highly flammable and can be dangerous to people if inhaled in high doses. No injuries were reported from the collision.


Three cargo tanks of the chemical on the Danish-flagged Carla Maersk were ruptured when it collided with the Liberian bulk carrier Conti Peridot. A cause of the collision has not been determined. The Carla Maersk, which remains in the channel, was carrying approximately 216,000 barrels of MTBE before the collision but officials were still trying to determine how much had been spilled.


"We have to proceed step by step, making sure the flammability, the toxicity of this cargo is absolutely safe," said Penoyer, commander of the Houston-Galveston Coast Guard District. "We need to recognize this is an enormously complex salvage operation. ... We are driven by factors on the ground, not by a desired time frame. We all live here. We want to get back to business as usual. But we have to make sure people are safe."


Penoyer said officials have found no detectable concentrations of MTBE in the air in the shoreline communities around the spill since about midnight Monday and no sheens of the chemical have been found on the water.


"This indicates to us the risk to the public from toxic vapors or flammability of this cargo is virtually nil," he said.


There were no shelter-in-place orders on Tuesday for communities near the 50-mile channel that connects the Gulf of Mexico to the Port of Houston.


However, there was limited access into the Morgan's Point area, a city of about 350 residents located 30 miles east of Houston and adjacent to Galveston Bay at the entry point to the ship channel. The limited access included the area around Barbours Cut Container Terminal on the ship channel and at least one road into Morgan's Point, said Jeff Suggs, emergency management coordinator for the nearby city of La Porte.


The Port of Houston, a major part of the ship channel, is home to the nation's largest and one of the world's largest petrochemical complexes. It typically handles about 70 ships per day, plus 300 to 400 tugboats and barges, and consistently ranks first in the nation in foreign waterborne tonnage, U.S. imports and U.S. export tonnage.


The financial impact of the closure of the ship channel was not immediately known. But the Barbours Cut Container Terminal, run by the Port of Houston Authority, was closed on Tuesday due to the cleanup efforts.


On Tuesday, there were 28 ships waiting to go into the Houston Ship Channel and 24 waiting to come out, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick.


Officials were also working to determine what kind of impact the spill might have on wildlife by taking and testing water samples, Penoyer said. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and other agencies were helping with this effort.




Update: GBF has remained in contact throughout the day with the U.S. Coast Guard and Incident Command, and at this time there have been no reports of affected wildlife. As shown in this map, authorities continue to monitor air and water quality throughout and around the safety zone, but levels initially appear to show that there is no health concern to the public. As a reminder, if you see any chemical sheen or affected wildlife, please report it by phone to 281-842-8100 or online through GBF’s mobile reporting site:


see Morgan’s Point Collision Situation Status Map














what’s going to happen when those great big super tankers start to show up after the Panama Canal is refitted and in full service and full steam ahead, and start cruising up the ship channel from Galveston to Houston, (besides the shoreline erosion there from)? we may have to start charging admission for the crash tanker derby show. set up the bleachers out on that new big GLIT island behind the house here. somebody better get a handle on why these collisions are happening, and fix it. fog has been here for some time, long before the ships


also, please, no more GLIT islands from the dredge either. dear steve has the definition for what a GLIT island is. I don’t know how much more of this our beloved Galveston Bay can handle. ...













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