News Release # 3

The Unified Command, consisting of the Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, Kirby Inland Marine and Port of Houston Fire Department, continues to respond to a collision on the Houston Ship Channel at Lights 71-74 between a 755-foot tanker and a tug pushing two barges near Bayport, Texas, Saturday.

One barge has capsized and one is significantly damaged. An estimated 25,000 barrels of gasoline blend stock were loaded on each barge. Current estimates predict a release of 9,000 barrels of the blend stock Reformate into the Houston Ship Channel.

There are no injuries reported at this time.

The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, Environmental Protection Agency and a Port of Houston Fire Boat are conducting around the clock air monitoring in the communities west of the bay and in locations reported through the Air Monitoring hotline.

Air monitoring performed under the Unified Command-approved plans indicate that petroleum-related compounds are not present at levels that would cause a health concern. Air monitoring results and details on the actionable levels being used by the Unified Command to evaluate real-time air monitoring data are provided in the Community Air Sampling and Analysis Plan, available at www.bayport-response.com.

A 24/7 hotline has been established for the public to report strong gasoline odors and waterway contamination: 281-757-3017. Members of the community who feel they may require medical attention should still call 911.

More than 3,800-feet of absorbent and containment boom has been deployed as of 8:30 a.m. with an additional 12,150-feet of containment boom scheduled to be deployed throughout the day with a focus on environmentally sensitive areas. Boom deployment is subject to delay due to weather, especially lightning in the area.

The Unified Command is monitoring the weather to ensure the safety of response personnel and revise the response action plan as necessary.

There have been no reported impacts on wildlife at this time. Animal wildlife rehabilitation crews are standing by to respond if a report should occur.

The Houston Ship Channel is closed from Light 61-75. Additionally, a safety zone has closed Clear Creek Channel from the entrance to Clear Lake and extending east to Light 66 on the Houston Ship Channel and north up to but not including the Bayport Ship Channel.

As of 9 a.m., there is a queue of 30 vessels inbound and 17 vessels outbound with 85 vessels at anchorage. The Unified Command is working closely with the Port Coordination Team to minimize the impact on the Houston Ship Channel.

Salvage teams are on scene assessing the damaged barges and additional salvage assets are in route.

A 24/7 claims hotline is available at: 1-800-241-9010.

For all media inquiries, the joint information center can be reached at: 281-755-4670.