Houston Ship Channel remains partially shut: U.S. Coast Guard

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 10, 2015 12:08 PM

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Marine traffic in the Houston Ship Channel will remain partially halted until salvage ships retrieve an anchor that broke off a bulk carrier that collided with a tanker on Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Tuesday.

The bulk ship hauling steel and the tanker that was carrying 216,000 barrels of the gasoline additive methyl tertiary-butyl ether, or MTBE, remained in place on Tuesday as the U.S. Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers worked with salvage companies to move them and retrieve the lost anchor, the Coast Guard said.

Thirty-six ships were waiting to get in while 28 waited to get out on Tuesday morning, said J.J. Plunkett, port agent for the Houston Pilots.

An unknown amount of MTBE was spilled in the top U.S. petrochemical port when the double-hulled tanker Carla Maersk collided with the bulk vessel.

Traffic in and out of Galveston, Texas City and Bayport on the south end of the ship channel moved as usual on Tuesday. The area where the collision occurred remained closed near Morgan's Point, just south of Baytown.

Above that area ships could move from dock to dock, but not out of the channel, Plunkett said.

The shutdown is the second in a week, as heavy fog stopped traffic for several days last week.

(Reporting By Kristen Hays; Editing by Marguerita Choy)