Houston Ship Channel Reopens after Bunker Fuel Spill

Vessel traffic returned to normal in the Houston Ship Channel at 3:31 pm on September 6 after it was closed earlier the same day due to a bunker fuel spill and fire aboard the 810-foot tanker Aframax River, according to the United States Coast Guard.

It was reported that the vessel’s bunker tank was punctured and caught fire.

The tanker was not loaded with cargo, but is believed to have had as much as 90 thousand gallons of low sulfur diesel in the bunker tank that was breached.

“Much of the fuel that came out of the ship burned up, leaving only a light sheen on the water at daybreak and small pockets of recoverable fuel near the shoreline,” the USCG said.

Investigators have begun looking into the cause of the incident and will be working with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Houston Ship Channel was closed at 12:08 am, and the Coast Guard established a safety zone from the Cargil facility to the Cemex docks.

The channel was 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 responded to leaked fuel oil from the ship.

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