Tanker Ignites in Houston Ship Channel, Waterway Closed

A tanker fire which started in the early morning hours on September 6 has temporarily closed the Houston Ship Channel, according to the United States Coast Guard.

Around midnight, a pilot aboard the 810-foot tanker, Aframax River, notified Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders that the tanker was on fire near the Intercontinental Terminals Company.

It was reported that a bunker tank was punctured and caught fire. The 2002-built tanker was not loaded and carrying product when the incident occurred.

The Houston Ship Channel was closed at 12:08 a.m., and the Coast Guard established a safety zone from the Cargil facility to the Cemex docks. The channel remains closed to all traffic for 1 mile southwest of the Battleship Texas State Historic site, between the Cargill facility and the Cemex dock, as teams respond to leaked fuel oil from the ship.

The fire has been extinguished and all tanker crew members are accounted for with no injuries reported.

A port of Houston fire boat and Coast Guard investigators will remain on scene, USCG said.

The reopening of the channel will depend on the results of inspections.

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