UPDATE: Crews working to recover spilled bunker fuel oil in Houston Ship Channel

CNN
POSTED: Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 8:56am
UPDATED: Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 10:51am

Efforts to contain and recover oil spilled after a collision that occurred Saturday in the Houston Ship Channel continue with an aggressive deployment of all available response resources on Sunday.

Lightering operations to transfer remaining oil from the damaged barge are expected to be completed today.

After the barges are decontaminated the barge will be taken to a local shipyard for assessment and needed repairs.

The primary emphasis remains the safety of response personnel working in the area and the protection of environmentally sensitive habitats, including birds and marine life.

The Unified Command consists of a wide variety of federal, state, and local government agencies have expanded the safety zone to include all areas between Lighted Buoiy 3 and Lighted Buoy 40, to prevent other vessels from interfering with the response efforts and from inadvertently facilitating the spread of oil.

Approximately 35,000 feet of boom has been deployed in containment efforts and to mitifate the affect on the environment.

The area immediately surrounding the damaged barge was quickly boomed on Saturday afternoon.

The maximum capacity of the breached tank is 168,000 gallons of marine fuel oil.

The amount of released product is still being assessed at this time.

On Saturday, a barge loaded with marine fuel oil has been sitting partially submerged in the Houston Ship Channel.

Response efforts continued overnight in response to a vessel incident.

The primary concern remains the safety of responders and the protection of the environment. To ensure the safety of workers in the area and to prevent the spread of oil into other ares of the channel and Galveston Bay, a safety zone has been established. This will restrict vessel traffic in impacted waters.

At this time the Bolivar ferry will remain closed with the exception of EMS transit.

Air monitoring will continue to ensure the safety of workers and others in the area.  

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