News Release # 5

UPDATE 5:  Unified Command continues response to collision on Houston Ship Channel near Bayport, Texas

 HOUSTON – A unified command, consisting of U.S. Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, Port of Houston Fire Department and Kirby Inland Marine, continues to respond Monday to a collision between the 755-foot tanker Genesis River and the tug Voyager at Lights 71-74 in the Houston Ship Channel near Bayport, Texas.

Salvage teams have secured the barges in their current locations and continue to remove product from the damaged barge while crews prepare to conduct salvage operations on the capsized barge.  Work is expected to continue throughout the day with an established priority of ensuring the protection of the bay from additional release of product.

Salvage assets include a crane barge, a lightering barge and multiple spud barges that are on scene to secure the damaged barges in place. Shoreline cleanup assessment teams have been deployed to areas where product may have reached the shore.

Six skimmers are on scene and have recovered more than 376 barrels of product-water mixture. More than 20,000-feet of boom has been deployed around the barges as well as surrounding sensitive shoreline areas.

Containment boom surrounds the damaged barge and skimming operations are in place to address possible release while product is transferred from the barge. There is active cleaning underway along Bay Shoreline due to reports of sheen.

Response teams continue to conduct air monitoring throughout the area with results posted at www.bayport-response.com. As of 3 p.m. Monday, 4,735 air quality assessments have been taken in the community and analyzed with no results showing above actionable levels. Water quality testing teams continue to conduct sampling and assess the need for shoreline remediation. The unified command is working closely with public health officials to ensure air and water sampling results are at safe levels to the public.

The Houston Ship Channel is opened with the following restrictions in place: no meeting or overtaking at Light 73, wake and surge considerations from Light 66-76, vessels are to favor the red side of the channel as a safety precaution. As of 2 p.m., there were no outbound vessels and 53 inbound vessels waiting to make safe passage through the channel. For recent updates to the vessel traffic queue visit www.bayport-response.com.

The Captain of the Port of Houston-Galveston has now opened traffic to recreational boaters.

A one nautical mile safety zone is in effect around the damaged barge. Marine Safety Information Bulletins can be viewed at https://homeport.uscg.mil/port-directory/houston-galveston.

Wildlife impacts include numerous fish in an isolated area, one raccoon, and three birds found deceased on the barge. If the public encounters impacted wildlife, they should not attempt a rescue or recovery. Untrained personnel can inflict serious injury to the animal or may be injured themselves. Instead, call and report impacted wildlife to 979-215-8835.

“We want to assure the public that we’re working diligently to protect health and safety, and return our port commerce to pre-incident status,” said Capt. Richard Howes, federal on-scene coordinator. “Coordination between federal, state and industry partners remains instrumental in the progress we’ve made in securing the barges to minimize impact to the environment.”

The incident occurred late Friday afternoon after the 755-foot tanker Genesis River and the tug Voyager collided at Lights 71-74 in the Houston Ship Channel. While there were no crew injuries associated with the incident, an estimated 9,000 barrels of gasoline blend stock was released into the channel from the barge that was struck by the tanker. The second barge was capsized and remains aground just outside the channel. The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

Key phone numbers:
Claims Hotline: 1-800-241-9010

Regional Poison Control Center: 1-800-222-1222

Impact to fish and wildlife: 979-215-8835
Air monitoring information: 281-757-3017
Joint Information Center: 281-755-4670

Updates and resources are available at www.bayport-response.com

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Released: May 13, 2019 / 3 p.m.

Unified Command Continues Salvage Operations

The Unified Command continues salvage operations on two barges May 12, 2019 near Bayport, Texas after a collision on the Houston Ship Channel at Lights 71-74 between a 755-foot tanker and a tug pushing two barges. Crews continue to maintain boom deployed and remain focused on environmentally sensitive areas.

News Release # 4

Unified Command Continues Aggressive Response to Bayport Channel Vessel Incident

Members of the Unified Command established in response to Friday’s tanker / tug collision near Bayport, Texas continue to deploy material and personnel resources to limit environmental impacts and fully reopen the Houston Ship Channel to maritime commerce.

The incident occurred late Friday afternoon when the tug Voyager was stuck by the 755-foot tanker Genesis River near Lights 71-74 in the Houston Ship Channel. While there were no crew injuries associated with the incident, approximately 9000 barrels of gasoline blend stock was released into the channel from one of two barges being pushed by the tug. The second barge was overturned and remains near the channel. The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

Current response priorities established by the Unified Command of federal, state and local officials and representatives of Kirby Inland Marine are the health and safety of persons living or working in the area, including those responding to the incident, protection of water quality and marine life in Galveston Bay, shoreline protection and clean up, and the safe and timely removal of the two damaged barges.

Since the incident occurred, response officials have continually conducted air monitoring throughout the area, posting results of that monitoring on the response organization’s website, www.bayport-response.com.  As of noon today, 2700 samples have been taken and analyzed.  Concerns regarding odors that may have resulted from the incident should be addressed to 281-757-3017.  For further health concerns or questions, the regional poison control center can be reached at 1-800-222-1222

Water quality testing teams are also contacting home and property owners along the bay to conduct sampling and assess the need for shoreline remediation.  Shoreline residents wishing to verify the identity of spill response personnel seeking access to property may call 281-757-3017.

As of 12 pm today, the Unified Command reports a significant commitment of assets throughout the impacted area including:

  • 334 federal, state and local response personnel engaged in both planning and implementing the response and clean-up operations
  • 8 skimmers are in operation
  • The deployment of 20,550 feet of product containment and absorbent boom to limit the spread of spilled product
  • Salvage assets on site include multiple spud barges to secure the damaged barges in place, a crane barge, a lightering barge and lightering pumps.
  • Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams deployed to areas where product may have reached shore.

Salvage teams have secured the barges in their current locations near the channel and are beginning to remove cargo from those barges. Work is expected to continue throughout the day with an established priority of ensuring the protection of the Bay from the additional release of product from the barge.  Once cargo is removed from the barges, they will be relocated from the incident area.

Although a partial closure of the ship channel remains in effect, one way ship and two way barge traffic has been restored. The United States Coast Guard reports that there are 47 outbound vessels and 48 inbound vessels waiting to make safe passage through the channel as of 2 p.m. Sunday.

The previously established navigation safety zone was expanded at 11 a.m. Sunday to include the area from the western shores of Lower Galveston Bay, extending south to Eagle Point in San Leon, east up to but not including the Houston Ship Channel, then extending north up to but not including the Bayport Ship Channel.  All boaters are prohibited from exiting Clear Creek into the bay or operating in the area covered by the safety zone.

A telephone hotline has been established for persons wishing to report impacted fish or wildlife: 979/215-8835.

Persons wishing to pursue a claim in the response to the incident may call 800/241-9010.

Unified Command Provides New Resources, Updated Guidance for Questions Regarding Health Concerns

Federal, state and local agencies responding to Friday’s vessel incident in Bayport, Texas have updated resources available to the public for persons who may be concerned regarding potential health impacts from the incident.

Information from the U.S. Center for Disease Control regarding the potential health impacts of the product spilled in Friday’s collision between the tug Voyager and the 755-foot tanker Genesis River may be accessed at:

https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/substances/toxsubstance.asp?toxid=83

The Texas Poison Control Center may be reached at 800-222-1222 and can also respond to citizen questions about exposure to chemicals.

Teams continue to aggressively assess air quality throughout communities near the incident site.  As of 12 p.m. Sunday, assessment teams have taken over 2700 readings with no findings above actionable levels.  Air monitoring reports remain available at www.bayport-response.com.  Reports of gasoline-like odors may be made to 281-757-3017.

Residents and others near the water are urged to avoid contact with water that may have been impacted by the gasoline blend stock product released from one of two barges struck by the tanker.  That guidance includes:

  • Avoiding all visible sheens on the water
  • Thoroughly washing any impacted skin with soap and water
  • Staying clear of containment boom on the water and against the shoreline

 

Unified Command Expands Marine Safety Zone

Unified Command has expanded the previously established navigation safety zone around Friday’s vessel incident and product spill near Bayport, Texas Sunday morning,

The expanded safety zone includes the area from the western shores of Lower Galveston Bay, starting at the south side of the Bayport Channel, then extending south to Eagle Point in San Leon, then east up to but not including the Houston Ship Channel, then extending north up to but not including the Bayport Ship Channel, then west to the shoreline.

Additionally, mariners are prohibited from exiting Clear Creek into the bay.

These temporary restrictions are in place to protect mariners and response crews operating in the area, and to prevent the inadvertent spread of product into other parts of the bay.

 

Water Sampling and Assessment Crews along waterfront areas

The Bayport Channel Collision Response Unified Command has contracted crews working in the local area conducting water sampling, shoreline assessments and, if needed, cleanup of any affected shoreline.

Waterfront property owners may see or be contacted by crews working along the Galveston Bay shoreline. These crews may request access to your property to do their work.

To verify their identity or if you have other questions, you may call the Unified Command at 281-757-3017. For additional information visit: www.bayport-response.com