Houston Ship Channel Reopens After Barge Loses Fight with Tanker

It wasn’t a fair fight, and it didn’t last long.  On Friday afternoon, the 755-foot tanker Genesis Rose plowed into two barges full of gasoline in the Houston Ship Channel.

The collision capsized one barge and carved a huge v-shaped hole in the other, spilling about 9,000 gallons of gas.

The collision and spill sent clouds of odorless fumes drifting across the heavily populated areas to the West, on the south side of Clear Lake.

No injuries were reported, and now salvage operations are underway.  The channel was closed to traffic while investigators were on the scene and officials worked to contain and clean up the spill.

The channel reopened Sunday to two-way traffic for vessels under tow and to outbound traffic for all others.

Houston is the epicenter of energy for the U.S., and dozens of ships use the Houston Ship Channel every day.

Reuters reported that there were 44 vessels waiting lined up to enter the ship channel and 37 vessels waiting to leave on Sunday morning, according to the Houston Pilots association.

It was the second petrochemical spill in two months to affect traffic on the 53-mile (85-km) commercial waterway that connects Houston to the Gulf of Mexico. Nine U.S. oil refineries that process 12% of the national total operate along the ship channel.

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