U.S. Coast Guard reopens some Texas ports with restrictions

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 30, 2017 9:31 PM

(Reuters) - The United States Coast Guard on Wednesday said the ports of Houston, Texas City, Galveston and Freeport have been reopened with restrictions on vessel traffic after they were closed due to storm Harvey.

However, the section of the upper Houston ship channel from Morgan's Point inbound to the turning basin would remain closed until weather conditions improve, the Coast Guard said in a statement, adding that all vessel traffic is limited to daylight hours.

The Houston Ship Channel links the busiest U.S. petrochemical port to the Gulf of Mexico.

The restrictions would prevent vessels from moving to the upper ship channel, where five of the Houston-area oil refineries are located.

Also, only the smallest draft tankers would be allowed to travel to Texas City, where three refineries are located, since the Coast Guard has imposed restrictions on the size of vessels that would be allowed to navigate the waterways.

Tropical Storm Harvey further damaged the heart of the U.S. energy industry on Wednesday, churning into Louisiana after flooding the biggest U.S. refinery in Texas, forcing major pipelines to halt operations and threatening a supply squeeze for weeks.

(Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin)