Laborious Oil Spill Cleanup

Cleanup continues of an oil spill that occurred after a ship collided with a barge in the Houston Ship Channel Friday night. The channel is now open, but was closed this weekend is closed to all vessel traffic north of the Sidney Sherman Bridge. Pat Hernandez has the story.

About 130-responders are working to clean up the spill of over 10-thousand gallons of fuel oil. The bad news...its blocked about 10-vessels from moving  out of the cleanup area.

"The unified command has not established any sort of time line on when the port is going to be reopened. It basically comes down to safety for the responders. We can't have vessels moving in in about that area of the port where they're cleaning up the oil."

That's Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Mark Machowiak. He says they hope to reduce the time spent removing the sticky fuel oil.

"Fortunately this area of the port, is the last three miles of a 52-mile area, so it's used actually the least. So that's the good news, and this is a very limited area, as far as where the oil can travel on the surface, so everything right now is under control."

The oil is located in spots that are difficult to get to: under piers, along the seawall and facility property.

Petty Officer Marchowiak says a vessel based in the Marshall Islands was attempting to turn around near Brady's Islandwhen it struck a barge. Fuel oil leaked for more than four hours from a gash above the water line.

"The responsible party has maintained full responsibility, and they are paying the bills for the action."

PH, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

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Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...